Although no details have yet been revealed about the number of new-to-market gaming tables Wynn Palace has requested, earlier reports indicate that the US$4.1 billion Cotai venture is set up for at least 500 tables. Local media reported today that Macau gaming regulator DICJ director Paulo Martins Chan spoke with reporters on the sidelines of an event Monday and informed them that Wynn has officially tendered a request for table allocation, and that it is currently under review.

Wynn Palace is scheduled to open on August 22, 2016 and the nagging difficulty with predicting an allocation is that Mr. Chan seems to continue to allude to the 3% annually compounded table cap. The restriction of new-to-market tables is bound to make the operators of some, or all of the casinos scheduled to open soon less than happy.

If our calculations are correct, based on the 2012 number of 5485 gaming tables in play, along with the 5,957 in play at the end of 2015 (of 5994 allowed) – neither Wynn Palace nor Parisian Macao, scheduled to open in September, will be able to meet their targets. And it doesn’t look a lot better for MGM Cotai when they open in 2017.

Indeed, there are a total of six luxury hotels offering nearly 10,000 new rooms, some with casinos, some possibly not, that are set to open between now and the end of 2017. Observers should expect to see some creative strategic moves to place existing tables in some of the new venues.

Melco Crown’s City of Dreams Fifth Hotel Tower is expected to open in 2017, along with Grand Lisboa Palace, and MGM Cotai. Melco received just 250 tables in two allocations for their multi-billion dollar Studio City Macau which opened in October last year. Grand Lisboa Palace had originally planned on some 700 tables. The 13, which is set to open in the 4th quarter at a cost of US$7 million per room no longer mentions gaming on their website, fact sheets, or stock exchange filings.

The numbers allowed under the gaming regulator’s cap are simply not enough to service the four known casinos opening in the SAR before the end of 2017.


This article has been updated to reflect the fact that no casino license has been announced for luxury hotel, The 13.