Casino operator Wynn Macau Ltd confirmed in a statement on Friday that it received approval from Macau’s gaming regulator to transfer 250 gaming tables from its property on the peninsula to Wynn Palace, due to open on August 22 in Cotai.
“We plan to transfer approximately 250 tables from Wynn Macau to Wynn Palace, bringing total table games at Wynn Palace to approximately 350 and total table games at Wynn Macau to approximately 270,” the company said in the statement filed with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lionel Leong Vai Tac, said on Friday that the casino operator would get 100 new-to-market live gaming tables for the opening of its US$4.2-billion Wynn Palace. The government official added that the company would be granted an additional 50 new-to-market tables in two separate phases: 25 tables on January 1, 2017; and the remaining 25 on January 1, 2018.
The tables were granted only for the mass-market segment, Mr Leong added. Macau’s gaming regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, also approved 1,145 slot machines for operation at Wynn Palace effective August 22.
“From a fundamentals perspective, we believe that the new 100+25+25 tables are sufficient to efficiently run the new property along with a transfer of underutilised/unused tables from the Wynn Macau Peninsula,” said analysts Vitaly Umansky and Clifford Kurz of Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd.
The brokerage said in a Friday note that it expected Wynn Palace to open with 350 gaming tables, including 250 tables transferred from Wynn Peninsula, “of which 100 are currently mothballed and 150 are underutilised [at Wynn Macau]”.
The government has said that the decision to grant a total of 150 new-to-market tables to Wynn Palace was made based on “consideration of several factors”, including the new non-gaming features to be offered by Wynn Palace, as well as the amount of collaboration with local small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Investment analysts are now analysing the implications of Wynn Palace’s table allocation for other Macau operators with large projects opening this year and next year, including: Parisian Macao, developed by Sands China Ltd, scheduled to open on September 13; and MGM Cotai, a property by MGM China Holdings Ltd scheduled for the second quarter of 2017.
“We think the next two big projects that will come online … are in position to get a greater long-term total table grant than 150 tables,” said analyst Grant Govertsen of Union Gaming Securities Asia Ltd.
“As it relates to Parisian … no operator has historically focused more on non-gaming and family-style entertainment than Sands China and we think Parisian will be no different,” said Mr Govertsen.
He added: “As it relates to MGM Cotai, we don’t know what’s planned as far as the total package of non-gaming amenities and local SME support is concerned, but we do recognise that the company has a few quarters to get everything buttoned down before applying for a table grant when they open [MGM Cotai] in the second quarter of 2017.”
The Sanford Bernstein team said that the Macau operators still have excess table capacity that they can move to the Cotai properties. “There may be issues with lack of gaming capacity in the future when the market returns to growth, but now and for the next few years, gaming capacity should not be a limit on growth,” said Mr Umansky and Mr Kurz.
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"After a challenging period, the Macau market is growing again, and its growth rate has been accelerating for three consecutive quarters. Our Macau operation is experiencing strong growth in both our mass gaming and non-gaming segments"
Chairman of gaming operator Las Vegas Sands and subsidiary Sands China