The Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), the body responsible for authorising hotel operations in the city, says it is yet to issue the operating licence for the hotel at MGM Cotai (pictured), a scheme developed by Macau-based gaming operator MGM China Holdings Ltd.
“The licence application for the opening of the five-star hotel MGM Cotai and establishments inside the property is still waiting for the favourable opinions from related technical departments,” said MGTO in an email to GGRAsia.
According to information on MGTO’s website, the issuance of the hotel licence requires the approval from several other government departments, including for licences related to fire safety, water supply and power equipment.
The news was first reported by Macau News Agency.
MGM China said on Thursday that the opening of MGM Cotai has been delayed to February. “While still undergoing government approval process, we are now focusing on our grand opening within the month of February,” the company said.
Japanese brokerage Nomura said in a note on Thursday: “We’ve spoken with [MGM China] management and are comfortable that the delay is not a meaningful issue for the company. To some degree, it is related to governmental approval backlog, although we believe that most of it is a local management decision.”
According to the brokerage, MGM Cotai could have opened on January 29 “with a herculean effort”. Nomura however believes that MGM China “wanted a bit more time synching the non-casino amenities” and to train the newly-hired staff.
“There will be no loss attributable to the delay, and customer deposits will be either refunded or credited to the players’ accounts for future visits,” said the Nomura team. “We believe that management will take reservations for Chinese New Year (February 16), an important revenue window no operator wants to miss,” it added.
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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