The chief executive of Macau gaming operator SJM Holdings Ltd, Ambrose So Shu Fai (pictured), remains optimistic about the performance of the city’s gaming industry in 2016.
“The past year has been a challenging one for Macau and for the gaming industry, but we are optimistic for an improved climate in 2016,” Mr So said during a media luncheon hosted by the company on Thursday.
He added: “Later in 2016 we will reopen the Jai Alai property, with new lodging, shopping, entertainment and gaming facilities.”
The latter was a reference to Casino Jai Alai on the Macau peninsula. Renovation work on the property had been suspended since February 2014 pending government approvals and was restarted in May 2015. Once reopened, the facility will have new facilities including a hotel with 130 rooms, restaurants and shops, according to information previously disclosed by SJM Holdings.
The firm is currently building a new casino resort on Cotai, and that is scheduled to be ready at the end of 2017. In February, SJM Holdings announced that the HKD30-billion (US$3.9 billion) scheme was to be branded Grand Lisboa Palace. It previously had the working title ‘Lisboa Palace’.
A number of investment analysts have recently noted that three Macau operators – SJM Holdings, MGM China Holdings Ltd and Wynn Macau Ltd – that do not currently have operations on Cotai, a zone for new large-scale casino resorts, are likely to face some pressure in terms of market share as Macau moves to a greater focus on mass-market and non-gaming tourism.
Accumulated casino gross gaming revenue in Macau for the first two months of 2016 was nearly MOP38.20 billion (US$4.8 billion), a decline of 11.8 percent judged year-on-year.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China