MGM Cotai, which will more than triple the number of MGM’s hotel rooms in the former Portuguese colony, marks a major expansion into hospitality amid uncertainty over the renewal process of its casino license that expires in two years.
The new resort, MGM’s second and the biggest investment in Macau, boasts a 2,000-seat theatre and artwork including 28 carpets from the Qing dynasty. It will increase MGM’s overall gaming table count in the hub by 29 percent to 552.
MGM’s license in Macau is due to expire in 2020 along with SJM Holdings, while licenses for Sands China, Wynn Macau, Galaxy Entertainment and Melco Resorts are set to expire in 2022. Macau authorities have provided little information about whether, and how, the licenses will be renewed.
MGM’s second property in Macau is part of the industry’s efforts to transform the stretch of reclaimed land into a family-friendly zone. As the operators in Macau push to develop the Cotai Strip, other destinations from Australia to the Philippines are gearing up to vie for visitors from China’s mainland.
“We live in a world with many business distractions. Any business needs to have the resilience and capacity,” Grant Bowie, CEO of MGM China Holdings Ltd., said in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Tuesday. The Macau market can “overcome any of these challenges that present themselves.”
“It’s a perfect time to open right at the eve of the year of the dog,” MGM Chief Executive Officer James Murren said in an interview in Tokyo last week, referring to the Chinese zodiac animal that marks this year. “I believe we have created a resort that exactly targets the market that’s the fastest growing today -- the upper-end mass market.”
The opening comes at a time of surging casino revenues. Macau’s January numbers stormed past expectations with a 36 percent year-on-year jump, the 18th such gain in a row, on demand from big whale gamblers and mom-and-pop mass punters. (Reporting by Farah Master; Editing by Himani Sarkar)
Source: GMB / Reuters / Bloomberg