The $3.2 billion Studio City will open in Macau on October 27. Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd, controlled by Lawrence Ho Yau Lung and James Packer will open the casino in a market that has seen a meteoric rise to the top of the gambling world, and a 14 month tumble from brilliance that won’t see a bottoming out for some time to come.
Studio City features Asia’s tallest Ferris wheel and offers a Hollywood theme. Visitors may enjoy indoor simulated environments such as a ride with Batman through 40,000 square feet of Gotham City and interaction with DC Comics personalities such as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. Melco Crown spent $70 million on a promotional film created at the property that starred Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Brad Pitt. The film was directed by Martin Scorsese.
Other attractions at the 5-star hotel integrated casino resort will include The House of Magic, Pacha Macau nightclub, a 5,000 seat entertainment venue, and Studio 8; a 250 seat live television studio featuring game and cooking shows that invite audience members to participate.
The Boulevard at Studio City offers over 375,000 square feet (35,000 sqm) of retail space with streetscapes from Hollywood’s Beverly Hills and New York’s Times Square. Dozens of bars, lounges, and eateries from Michelin star level to quick bites should satisfy any foodist or gourmet’s desires.
Lawrence Ho said at a press conference today that he hopes to see the multi-faceted integrated resort receive an allocation of 400 gaming tables from the Macau government, who control the number of new tables each casino can operate. Mr. Ho mentioned the 10 years his companies have contributed to the city’s successes and expressed hope that Melco Crown would be rewarded for their efforts.
Local media reported recently that analysts at Deutsche Bank Securities Inc are predicting an allocation of only 150 tables, which was the number allocated to Galaxy Macau Phase 2 which opened on the Cotai Strip in late May with an investment so far of about $5.5 billion (HKD43b).
Some $27 billion is currently at play in the construction and eventual openings of multiple casinos and resorts in the special administrative district of China that operates under a “one country, two systems” policy.
At its peak, Macau saw some seven times the dollar-for-dollar gaming action of Las Vegas. Before the government crackdown on graft and corruption began, analysts predicted revenues of $77 billion by 2017. In July gross gaming revenue was down by nearly 35%, to $2.33 billion from the same month a year before. But a slight rise in month to month comparisons allowed the government to back off their threshold set for austerity measures, narrowly averting unspecified “contingency measures.”
Melco’s Ho told reporters today that although the second half of 2015 is, “probably going to be a rough,” he expressed hope that the opening of Studio City would be a new catalyst for the market. Macau is transitioning from a VIP-centric economy to one more focused on mass market gamblers, entertainment, family, and leisure activities.