Asian casino developer and operator Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd is mulling the addition of VIP gaming facilities at its mass market-focused property Studio City in Macau’s Cotai district, the company’s chief operating officer, Ted Chan Ying Tat, told local media on Friday.
“We’ll consider that [adding junket facilities at Studio City],” Mr Chan told reporters in response to questions about Studio City’s business performance.
“As Mr [Lawrence] Ho has said, we internally are not very satisfied with the current condition [of Studio City],” added Mr Chan. He was referring to previous comments by Melco Crown’s chief executive Lawrence Ho Yau Lung, made on the firm’s first quarter earnings call in May.
“But we have tried adding various elements here [in Studio City] hoping that when the supporting infrastructure is better, the [operating] environment will also get better,” Mr Chan noted in his Friday comments. He additionally stated that occupancy at Studio City’s two hotels had currently reached 95 percent.
Mr Chan was speaking on the sidelines of an event called Melco Crown Entertainment Local SME Open Day, at which local small- and medium-sized enterprises were invited to learn more about how to become suppliers to the casino firm.
Studio City opened on October 27 without any junket rooms – a Macau first for the current generation of large scale so-called integrated resorts.
At the time of the property opening, Melco Crown’s Mr Ho said not having junket rooms at Studio City’s casino was a “business decision” driven mainly by the size of the gaming property’s new-to-market allocation of 250 tables from the Macau government.
“Right now, [Studio City] is on the southern tip of the [Cotai] strip… on an island of its own, and I think that is affecting ramp up,” Mr Ho had said on the first quarter earnings conference call.
“At the same time, we are not totally happy with our own efforts. There is a lot of marketing effort to do,” Mr Ho added at the time.
For the first quarter of 2016, net revenue at Studio City was US$178.7 million. The property generated adjusted property earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of US$22.1 million for the first three months of 2016.
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"The [Macau] government has a lead in this subject in regards to what should be done after the [gaming] concessions expire. We will be first listening to what the government will say”
Ambrose So Shu Fai
Vice-chairman and chief executive at Macau casino operator SJM Holdings