The Macau government said on Tuesday it was still waiting to hear from the management at casino operator Wynn Macau Ltd regarding how many gaming tables and slots it is seeking for Wynn Palace.
The US$4.2-billion Cotai casino resort is due to open on August 22, little more than five weeks hence.
“Today we’ve… requested DICJ [Macau's Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau] to contact the company, requiring them to submit further information: in fact how many gaming tables and slot machines they would like to apply for,” said Lionel Leong Vai Tac (pictured), Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance.
The company had said in previous statements that Wynn Palace had the capacity for approximately 500 tables.
A number of investment analysts expect the Macau government to follow the policy it employed with the opening of Galaxy Macau Phase 2, developed by Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd; and Studio City, majority owned by Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. This would see the government granting Wynn Palace 250 new-to-market tables. Fitch Ratings Inc said in a note in May it was likely 50 gaming tables at Wynn Macau – the casino group’s existing property in the traditional casino district on Macau peninsula – would be moved to the new Cotai venue.
“We have to receive a formal application,” stated Mr Leong on Tuesday, referring to any new-to-market gaming tables Wynn might seek for its Cotai site.
He added: “Recently DICJ has received a document from Wynn which is mainly … [requesting] DICJ to inspect their venue [at Wynn Palace]. The document mentions … the estimated number of gaming tables they can place, and also the number of slot machines.”
Mr Leong further stated: “We hope the company can give us additional information. At the same time, DICJ will speed up on the related analysis.”
The official noted: “We haven’t conducted the related analysis, so at this moment I cannot give a concrete number [for tables at Wynn Palace]. And I feel that it is not scientific [to say the number now], because we just received the document today. But I’d say in the 2013 to 2022 [period] we have this annual 3 percent growth requirement that remains in place.”
Macau casino operators are subject to a cap imposed by the city’s government regarding the number of new-to-market tables.
The table cap aims to limit the increase in live dealer table numbers to 3 percent compound annual expansion until the end of 2022, from a base of 5,485 tables recorded at the end of the fourth quarter in 2012.
There are precedents in Macau whereby new-to-market table allocation for multibillion U.S. dollar casino projects has been revealed only days before a property opens.
Studio City’s 250-table allocation was announced by Melco Crown on October 20 – only seven days before that resort opened on October 27. Secretary Leong announced the table allocation for Galaxy Macau Phase 2 only five days before its launch on May 27, 2015.
Mr Leong was speaking on Tuesday on the sidelines of an event co-organised by the city’s Labour Affairs Bureau, the Macau Federation of Trade Unions and Macau casino operator Sands China Ltd – an inauguration ceremony of an initiative called Professionalism Training for Gaming Practitioners, and run for 600 Sands China workers.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China