Angela Leong On Kei, an executive director of SJM Holdings Ltd., spoke with reporters on the sidelines of a press briefing Monday saying that although it would be difficult to say when the former Casino Jai Alai would reopen, she hoped it would be before the end of the year, according to GGRAsia.
SJM Holding’s 2015 annual report filed with the Hong Kong stock exchange makes note of Jai Alai Palace, the new name for the casino near the Macau Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal that opened in late 2009 and closed for remodeling in early 2013. The company took a break from renovations in early 2014 while awaiting certain government approvals and began again in earnest in May 2015.
Controlling interests and a vision for the the new hotel and casino are included in the 2015 annual report, but no mention is made of table allocation. It is assumed that when re-opened, gaming will continue to occur under license for Casino Oceanus at Jai Alai, across the street (pictured). In 2013 the two casinos had operated a total of 1 VIP gaming table, 188 mass market tables, and 648 slots, according to news reports at that time.
Some reports were indicating that Jai Alai may be “absorbed into” Oceanus but that speculation was laid to waste in May 2015, when SJM Holdings reportedly told Daiwa analysts that they hoped to open the casino within a year, and again about a year ago when GGRAsia reported that mid-2016 was a target date, based on a note from Analysts Sanford C. Bernstein Limited.
As much as HK$1 billion may be invested in the property before opening, based on HKEx report numbers and comments made to media in May 2015 by SJM chief executive, Ambrose So Shu Fai. According to the company’s 2015 annual report, “As at 31 December 2015, SJM had entered into capital commitments in connection with the Jai Alai renovation project with a total value of approximately $690 million,” the filing stated.
Jai Alai Palace will feature new facilities including a hotel with approximately 130 rooms, restaurants, and retail shops that are expected to enhance the business of the casino when it reopens, as well as the business at Casino Oceanus at Jai Alai. The two properties are the first to be encountered by those entering Macau at the Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal.