The new Cotai development, Grand Lisboa Palace, expects to request 400-500 new-to-market gaming tables before it opens in late 2017 or early 2018. Macao Daily reported that Friday, SJM Holdings Ltd’s Chief Executive Officer Ambrose So Shu Fai, said that the company would file its request sometime after construction is almost completed on the more than 500,000 square meter (5,612,679 sq ft) property.
Earlier HKEx filings indicated that they would be seeking some 700 tables along with 1,200 slot machines. However, the government has a cap on new tables entering the market and other major projects such as Studio City and Galaxy Macau Phase II have only been allocated 200-250 new tables, despite their focus on non-gaming amenities.
Speaking with reporters, Mr. So said that only about 5% of the new property will be used exclusively for gaming. Previous filings showed the planned casino floor space at Grand Lisboa Palace to be 27,000 square meters (+/-290,000 sq ft). Although the government has established a hard ceiling on new gaming tables and indicated in no uncertain terms that the policy would not be changed until all gambling concessions in the region have expired, SJM may have the option of moving existing tables from some of its other properties.
However, Mr. So noted that he doesn’t expect a rapid return to growth in the beleaguered gambling economy, rather a continuation of the current stabilization and slight growth next year. He added that Mass market gaming is still not capable of replacing the revenues from VIP rooms that have seen a dramatic fall in profits for more than a year now.
When asked whether construction might be delayed on the Cotai project, Mr. So remarked that it is still on track for completion in late 2017, but noted that it is difficult to forecast the progress, according to local news outlets.