In Macau and local casino operator SJM Holdings Limited has reportedly announced the ‘soft launch’ of its new Grand Lisboa Palace property following well over seven years of construction.

According to a report from GGRAsia, the Cotai Strip development began welcoming a limited number of guests from earlier today to enjoy its 290,000 sq ft casino that will have the ultimate ability to offer a selection of some 1,200 slots and up to 500 gaming tables. The source detailed that the impressive property is to now be further opened in stages to eventually also feature a trio of five-star hotels branded under the Grand Lisboa Palace, Karl Lagerfeld and Palazzo Versace monikers with 1,892 rooms in addition to a plethora of shops and restaurants.

Inconvenient interruptions:

Hong Kong-listed SJM Holdings Limited is responsible for some 20 gambling-friendly venues spread across Macau including the iconic Casino Grand Lisboa and began work on its Grand Lisboa Palace development in February of 2014 so as to be better able to compete with a host of nearby rivals including the $3.2 billion Studio City Macau venue from Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited. The new $5 billion property had originally been slated to open by the end of last year but purportedly had this schedule delayed by a number of tropical storms and the ensuing coronavirus pandemic.

Successful scope:

Daisy Ho Chiu-Fung serves as the Chairman for SJM Holdings Limited and she reportedly used an official Wednesday filing to disclose that her firm had earlier been given permission to bring up to 150 new-to-market gaming tables to the casino within the Grand Lisboa Palace development. However, the source explained that the company may ultimately decide to parcel some of these mass-market units out to its other properties in order to make room for associated VIP offerings.

Leisurely launch:

Ho reportedly used the same release to declare that her company’s Grand Lisboa Palace enterprise would ‘soft launch’ moreover offering 300 hotel rooms with the remainder ‘gradually coming into service depending on actual demand.’ But, GGRAsia reported that the full premiere may now take some time as Macau is continuing to experience reduced visitation numbers as a direct result of the city’s range of coronavirus-related travel restrictions.

Added aggravation:

Although mainland China is the only territory to have a largely quarantine-free travel bubble with Macau, the former Portuguese enclave is nevertheless reportedly set to institute a new rule from tomorrow that will oblige such tourists to present a negative test for coronavirus that has been issued within the previous 48 hours. To further add to the difficulties and local officials purportedly recently added to a list of locations from where arriving holidaymakers will now be required to sit through a two-week quarantine.