The casino at The 13 Hotel, a stalled development on the border between Cotai and Coloane in Macau, may open by March 31, 2019 along with some shops at the complex (pictured), said its promoter in a Sunday filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
The 13 Holdings Ltd added some details on what the casino is likely to contain. The firm said it expects to operate a total of 66 tables, of which nearly a quarter will be for VIP play, with the remainder for so-called premium mass. The filing noted there would be 50 “high-stakes” mass-market tables; approximately 16 VIP room tables; and circa 50 slot machines “with minimum bets that are set at a comparatively high level”.
But it added: “There may be substantial changes to these plans to accommodate the requirements of the Macau government.”
The local authorities are keen to diversify Macau’s economy from dependence on high-stakes live-table games. When MGM Cotai, the new property of MGM China Holdings Ltd, launched on February 13, it did so initially without any VIP gambling, although MGM China has not so far clarified the reasons.
Sunday’s filing by The 13 Holdings reiterated that the group had in place a memorandum of understanding – which it said had first been disclosed in a 2013 circular – with an “affiliate” of a licensed Macau casino operator in relation to the management and operation of the casino in the new property.
The latest filing said that company had received on January 17 a confirmation letter from the affiliate regarding that arrangement.
“As at the latest practicable date… the company has not received any negative feedback from the licensed operator in respect of the memorandum of understanding,” said Sunday’s filing.
The 13 Holdings also noted the capital required for casino operations – including operating supplies and equipment, and other casino-related pre-opening expenses – would be approximately HKD352 million (US$45 million).
The filing said the firm had “not yet formulated further fund-raising plans to accommodate such costs,” but the board expected that once The 13 Hotel was operational and had received approval of the Macau government for the gaming operation, the group “would be in a better position to explore further funding options including but not limited to bank borrowing, if necessary”.
Several previous deadlines declared by The 13 Holdings for the opening of the hotel accommodation at the property have already been missed. In late January it was announced that entrepreneur Stephen Hung, widely regarded in the investment community as one of the masterminds of the project, had resigned as joint chairman and executive director of the company.
In October last year the group announced a proposed rights issue to raise gross proceeds of approximately HKD1.01 billion.
In the Sunday filing The 13 Holdings said dealings in the rights issue shares in the nil-paid form were expected to take place from Wednesday, until March 7, inclusive.
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”China has been strengthening the control over capital flow, and the impact of that has already been reflected [on Macau’s gaming revenue trend]. There should not be any bigger impact from the new… legislation [on the mainland] … on the gaming revenue trend here”
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President of Macau casino operator Sands China