The Macau government has authorised casino operator MGM China Holdings Ltd to operate a total of 100 new-to-market live dealer gaming tables on opening its HKD27-billion (US$3.46-billion) MGM Cotai. The scheme is due to open to the public on January 29.
Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lionel Leong Vai Tac, made the announcement on Wednesday, in comments to reporters during a public event.
The government official also said that MGM China would be granted an additional 25 new-to-market tables on January 1, 2019. The casino operator was additionally authorised to install more than 900 new slot machines on its casino floor at MGM Cotai (pictured), Mr Leong reportedly added.
MGM China had previously stated the Cotai property had capacity for up to 500 gaming tables.
On Wednesday, Mr Leong additionally said that MGM China has been authorised to transfer 77 gaming tables from MGM Macau, in the city’s traditional downtown casino district, to the Cotai venue. The official did not specify the proportion of VIP and mass-market gaming tables to be deployed at MGM Cotai.
The aggregate number of tables granted to MGM Cotai is lower than the 150 gaming tables allocated to, respectively, the Parisian Macao, developed by Sands China Ltd, and Wynn Palace, operated by Wynn Macau Ltd, two properties launched in 2016.
In 2015, the Macau government approved a total of 250 gaming tables to, respectively, Galaxy Macau Phase 2, developed by Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd; and to Studio City, majority owned by Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd.
The Macau government operates a table cap policy, effective since 2013, designed to limit compound annual growth in the number of new live-dealer tables in the city’s casinos to 3 percent until the end of 2022, from a base of 5,485 tables recorded at the end of the fourth quarter of 2012.
The Macau market had 6,419 live-dealer tables as of the end of the fourth quarter – 30 fewer than at the end of the third quarter – stated the regulator in quarterly data updated on January 16.
Mr Leong had said previously that the government would look into the non-gaming components of the latest generation of casino resorts being developed on Cotai by Macau’s six gaming concessionaires – and how each company forms partnerships with local small- and medium-sized enterprises, among other factors – before deciding on table allocation for each new property.
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"The Hong Kong protests may hurt Macau gross gaming revenue by about mid-single-digit (i.e., half of maximum visitation exposure), which should fade away gradually as people will find alternative ways to visit Macau”
DS Kim, Jeremy An and Christine Wang
Analysts at brokerage JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd