The former New Century Hotel, and home to the shuttered Greek Mythology Casino in Taipa has been ordered shut down for six months by the Macao Government Tourism Office. Operating as Beijing Imperial Palace Hotel since 2013, the property is reportedly a threat to public safety due to serious administrative irregularities, including important fire safety measures, according to the MGTO.
In addition to the “administrative irregularities” several “illegal reconstructions” also occurred, according to new evidence detected by the government body. Blocked or obstructed escape routes and exits, decorative enhancements without fireproofing, a lack of sufficient fire extinguishers, and unapproved emergency lighting systems were among the violations and safety hazards noted.
The Greek Mythology Casino, operating under license of SJM Holdings, was reportedly closed by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau on December 31, at SJM’s request. At the time a spokesman told local media that the casino was closed for remodeling. Several restaurants and other amenities have closed down or had their licenses revoked in the interim, including the hotel’s sauna and Beijing Imperial Palace Club House.
Various penalties and sanctions had been imposed for the violations and proprietors were ordered to rectify the discrepancies by certain deadlines that have lapsed. In June the MGTO found that the several safety and other irregularities including an elevator rendered the property unsafe and were not corrected by a June 30 deadline. On July 12 a multi-agency contingent including officials from at least nine public bodies such as fire and police inspected the property and rendered a report to the MGTO that concluded the building was not suitable as a public space.
This is the first time a 5 star hotel in Macau has faced such sanctions. After the closure was announced, Hong Kong-listed Amax International Holdings Ltd, a 24.8 percent stakeholder in Greek Mythology Casino, suspended trading. Amax had already posted a loss of HK$48.97 million (US$6.31 million) for the financial year ending March 31. It’s unclear how the action will affect the company’s operations in Vanuatu. Amax was given permission to begin operations on the Pacific island nation a little over year after taking a 60% stake in Forenzia Enterprises Ltd., who hold a 15 year gaming license there.
Local media reports that MGTO director, Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, briefed news outlets today telling them, “Closing a hotel is not an easy or hasty decision,” she told reporters. “The closure has certainly affected the tourism image of Macau somehow, but a more important consideration for this decision is that we have to think of the public interest at large,” she continued.
“The hotel may face a permanent closure if it still cannot fulfill the licensing conditions in the ensuing six months.”