In Macau and local casino operator SJM Holdings Limited has reportedly announced that it expects to ‘soft launch’ its new Grand Lisboa Palace property before the end of June in advance of conducting a full third-quarter premiere.

According to a report from Inside Asian Gaming, the Hong Kong-listed firm began work on the $5 billion Cotai Strip development in February of 2014 and hopes that the finished facility will provide stern competition to a host of nearby rivals including the $3.2 billion Studio City Macau venue from Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited. The source detailed that the gambling-friendly Grand Lisboa Palace is set to debut offering around 300 hotel rooms before this complement is later expanded via the opening of a pair of in-house boutique hotels to 1,892.

Refreshing recovery:

In terms of the 290,000 sq ft casino within its coming Grand Lisboa Palace and SJM Holdings Limited reportedly explained that patrons are to initially be able to enjoy 1,034 slots and 304 gaming tables before this latter element is subsequently increased by up to 200 targeted towards the city’s premium-mass and VIP markets. The operator purportedly moreover forecast that the finished development will allow it to reclaim ‘better than its fair share’ of the local casino market and provide employment for as many as 6,000 people.

Supposition suspicion:

But, industry experts from investments research firm Sanford C Bernstein Limited reportedly asserted that they are ‘sceptical’ regarding this prediction from SJM Holdings Limited as competition in the Macau casino market ‘is very strong’ owing to a range of what could turn out to be ‘superior’ properties to the coming Grand Lisboa Palace. Analysts Kelsey Zhu, Louis Li and Vitaly Umansky purportedly also estimated that the upcoming venue will not break even ‘at least in the first few years’ as a result of ‘marketing prowess, loyalty programs and service levels’ at other area developments ‘remaining strong and better’.

Reportedly read a statement from the Sanford C Bernstein Limited analysts…

“Management believes junkets are very keen on the Grand Lisboa Palace product. However, margin will be very questionable and we need to wait and see what Grand Lisboa Palace will offer with respect to junket incentives and credit, which could be a key driver of share gain with significant impact on profit potential.”

Plummeting performance:

In related news and Inside Asian Gaming used a Tuesday report to disclose that SJM Holdings Limited has seen its first-quarter deficit grow by just over 59% year-on-year to about $83.3 million as its associated gross gaming revenues tumbled by 37.2% to around $341.2 million. The operator purportedly blamed this discouraging result on the lingering impact of the coronavirus pandemic with its adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization having slumped by 60% to a loss of $41.1 million.

SJM Holdings Limited is responsible for some 20 gambling-friendly venues spread across Macau including the iconic Casino Grand Lisboa and reportedly furthermore experienced a decrease of 59.4% year-on-year in first-quarter VIP gross gaming revenues to $62.4 million. This purportedly came as its mass-market receipts for the three-month period took a 21.3% tumble to $263.9 million as slot takings diminished by 17.3% to finish slightly below $15 million.