Macau’s SJM gaming marque remains interested in the opportunity to have a casino resort in Japan, and has participated in request-for-information (RFI) processes staged by some of that country’s cities.
So said Arnaldo Ho Yau Heng (pictured in a file photo), in comments to GGRAsia. He is a director and assistant chief operating officer of Sociedade de Jogos de Macau SA, the Macau-registered operating unit of Hong Kong-listed Macau casino licensee SJM Holdings Ltd.
Mr Ho has previously represented his company in networking events related to Japan’s nascent casino industry, including the annual industry conference the Japan Gaming Congress in Tokyo.
“We are still interested in pursuing a casino opportunity in Japan,” Mr Ho told GGRAsia in his latest remarks on the topic. “We are closely monitoring a few cities and participated in RFI stages.”
He declined to name the cities where the SJM brand had been involved in RFIs. Such initiatives are launched by interested local governments, which need to find private-sector partners before making an application to the national government for the right to host an integrated resort or “IR” as large-scale casino complexes with hotel, meeting and entertainment facilities as known in Japan.
A number of international casino operators – including the other five brands that have gaming concession rights in Macau – has declared interest in vying for a Japan casino resort licence. Up to three integrated resorts will be allowed in a first phase of market liberalisation.
The SJM marque was founded by Stanley Ho Hung Sun, who had a 40-year monopoly in the Macau casino market, from 1962 until 2002. Mr Arnaldo Ho is a son of Stanley Ho and Angela Leong On Kei, the latter a co-chairman and executive director of SJM Holdings Ltd as well as a Macau legislator.
SJM Holdings expects to launch its first foray into the Cotai casino resort market – the HKD39-billion (nearly US$5-billion) Grand Lisboa Palace – in the “second half of 2020”, said the Hong Kong listed firm’s vice-chairman and chief executive Ambrose So Shu Fai in comments to the Macau media on August 28. The opening of the approximately 1,900-room Grand Lisboa Palace could however be delayed until January 2021, suggested banking group Morgan Stanley in a Monday report.
A resort project close to the Grand Lisboa Palace site, Lisboeta Macau, had been announced by Mr Arnaldo Ho in October last year. The under-construction Lisboeta Macau could be launched in 2020, Mr Ho said at the time.
He had announced the Lisboeta Macau project, and presented it in his capacity as a director of Macau Theme Park and Resorts.
In comments made to local media in June, SJM Holdings’ CEO Mr So had acknowledged the possibility of gaming being offered at Lisboeta Macau, under a so-called service agreement that would make use of SJM Holdings’ gaming licence.
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