Developer, owner and operator of casino gaming and entertainment casino resort facilities in Asia, Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited, (NASDAQ: MLCO), was, at the beginning of January, reportedly granted some 40 new-to-market mass gaming live-dealer tables.

DICJ response:

GGRAsia reports that the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ), responded to its inquiry via a Friday email, which stated that Melco Resorts “applied for new gaming tables with us and we already granted 40 new-to-market mass gaming tables to [the firm] on January 1.”

Macau‘s casino regulator additionally confirmed that on January 1, MGM China Holdings Ltd (2282:Hong Kong), subsidiary of MGM Resorts International Holdings, Ltd, received 25 new-to-market live dealer gaming tables. The tables were reportedly due the company for its MGM Cotai casino resort property located just off Macau’s Cotai Strip.

According to the news agency, the regulator did not, in its email reply, provide clarification as to whether or not the tables were for the VIP segment or the mass market. 

New year allocation:

Prior to the February 13, 2018, opening of the HKD27-billion (US$3.4-billion) MGM Cotai, Lionel Leong Vai Tac, Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, reportedly said that the property was to receive 125 new-to-market gaming tables, with 100 of them being delivered in time for its launch. At that time, the government official also reportedly said that the 35-story resort would be granted the plus-25 new-to-market tables on the first day of the new year.

Table shift:

Melco Resorts on June 15, 2018, opened the US$1.1-billion hotel, Morpheus, at its City of Dreams Macau casino resort. The Macau government did not allocate any new-to-market gaming tables for its official grand opening, however, the company was permitted to take 40 tables from its existing operations and shift them to Morpheus, according to the news agency.

The regulator said at the time that it would not be considered for new-to-market tables until 2019.

Strict control:

According to GGRAsia, in its Friday email to the news agency, the regulator stated that the government of the autonomous region on the south coast of China would continue to “strictly control the number of gaming tables” in the market “to foster orderly development” of Macau’s gaming industry.

The regulator reportedly added…

“Comprehensive analysis and consideration will be made by the government upon receiving any application for new gaming tables from gaming operators.”

Gaming table policy:

Since 2013, a policy for a gaming table cap has been in place in the former Portuguese territory. The policy was fashioned in order to limit the total growth annually of new live gaming tables in the casino market of the city to just three percent over a period of 10 years, until December 2022.

According to the report, the most up to date information from the gaming regulator indicates that as of 2018’s end, the Macau market had some 6,588 live dealer tables.

Possible challenges:

A recent report cautions that over the next 12 months, American casino operators could face challenges in Macau due to a slowing economy and the prospects of a heightened trade war between the United States and China.