Macau junket operator Cali Group plans to run a VIP gambling room at the city’s freshly-constructed Legend Palace Hotel, subject to the necessary Macau government approvals for gaming at the property.
“We are planning to run a VIP room in Legend Palace, and it is going to feature our brand ‘Cali’,” said Lei Kit Meng, a director of Cali Group, in comments to GGRAsia. He didn’t provide information regarding whether other business collaborators would be involved in the room, or how many gaming tables it might have.
Legend Palace is being promoted by Hong Kong-listed casino services firm Macau Legend Development Ltd, and is the third hotel venue within its Macau Fisherman’s Wharf waterside leisure development. The existing hotels at Fisherman’s Wharf – the Rocks Hotel and the Harbourview Hotel, the latter of which opened in February 2015 – do not have gaming.
Legend Palace is to be a five-star hotel with 223 rooms, and includes facilities for an in-house casino, according to Macau Legend’s interim report for 2016, filed in September.
A fire drill inspection was held at Legend Palace on Tuesday, according to a Macau government statement. In Macau, fire inspections of new buildings typically occur a few weeks prior to them being opened to the public.
Macao Government Tourism Office, the licensing body for the city’s hotels, confirmed on Tuesday in an email to GGRAsia that the venue was at the “final inspection stage”, but declined to comment on whether the property would open in February.
In a Wednesday email to GGRAsia, Macau Legend said that the firm would like to commence operations at Legend Palace “as early as possible”. The construction and fit out for the property are completed, a spokesperson noted.
The same email said Legend Palace’s casino space can accommodate “up to 100 gaming tables”. But the firm did not elaborate on whether it would need to seek for Legend Palace new-to-market live-dealer gaming tables under Macau’s table cap policy.
As a gaming services business, Macau Legend does not hold Macau table quota in its own right, but instead must rely on the quota of one of the existing Macau casino operators. It relies on SJM Holdings Ltd for its gaming tables.
Paulo Martins Chan, director of Macau’s casino regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, told media on Wednesday that SJM Holdings has submitted to his bureau an application for new gaming tables related to the Legend Palace scheme. But Mr Chan did not disclose further details regarding the table application.
As at September 30, 2016, Macau Legend had a total of 82 gaming tables at Pharaoh’s Palace Casino inside The Landmark Macau hotel in downtown Macau; and another 51 gaming tables at Babylon Casino – a property without any hotel accommodation – at Fisherman’s Wharf, according to the firm’s unaudited third-quarter results filed in November.
GGRAsia asked Macau Legend for more information about likely gaming at Legend Palace, including VIP play and what junket promoters might operate there.
The spokesperson stated: “We prefer not to disclose operation strategies of the business at this stage. We can only say that it is our intention to move New Legend, our self-run VIP business [at Pharaoh's Palace] to Legend Palace once the hotel is opened. There are several options that can be implemented and [the firm] will look carefully at the market environment before implementation.”
Referring to Macau Legend’s existing Macau casino operations, the company spokesperson said: “With… The Landmark Macau and Babylon, we are flexible in how to allocate the tables, and will take into account market conditions before finally deciding the number of tables at each of our operation centres.”
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”Our own consensus is that any newcomers to this [junket] sector should be corporatised, and should be financially sound and able to commit a higher guarantee deposit”
Kwok Chi Chung
President of junket trade body, the Macau Association of Gaming and Entertainment Promoters