Grand Lisboa Palace Requests 500 Table Games From Macau Regulators

Posted on: December 10, 2018, 08:53h. 

Last updated on: December 10, 2018, 08:53h.

Grand Lisboa Palace is asking Macau gaming regulators for authorization of between 300 and 500 new-to-market table games for its Cotai Strip resort.

Grand Lisboa Palace casino SJM Holdings
SJM Holdings CEO Ambrose So Shu Fai hopes to have as many as 500 table games at Grand Lisboa Palace. (Image: Macau Business/Inside Asian Gaming/

SJM Holdings, the parent company to the $4.6 billion property, says it hopes to have the resort completed in the first half of 2019. CEO Ambrose So Shu Fai explained that the 2,000-room hotel will be split into the Palazzo Versace and Karl Lagerfeld hotels.

As for the casino floor, the space will house around 1,000 gaming machines, and as many as 500 tables.

SJM is the company founded by Macau billionaire Stanley Ho who held a monopoly on gaming in the enclave for decades before the territory was returned from Portugal to Chinese control in 1999. Ho, now 97-years-old, officially retired earlier this year.

Slow to Strip

SJM Holdings is late to the game in Cotai where the budding Strip has become the main drag for Macau’s high rollers and VIPs.

Las Vegas Sands opened The Venetian and Palazzo casinos in Cotai in 2007 and 2008. Three of Macau’s other gaming licensees, Melco Resorts, Wynn Resorts, and Galaxy Entertainment, soon followed.

The two that didn’t were MGM Resorts and SJM, the two companies that held the least market share in 2017.

SJM reported that net profits soared 57 percent during the first six months of 2018, but in that same financial filing, the company revealed it had a 15.1 percent market share in Macau. That’s down from 16.7 percent it controlled in 2017.

In 2010, SJM was still reigning supreme, as it maintained a 31 percent control of the market. The company is betting big on the $4.6 billion Grand Lisboa Palace in hopes of reversing its dwindling fortunes.

Regulatory Approval

The Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) is responsible for approving gaming machines and tables. The agency caps the number of available terminals and tables each year.

The $1.6 billion ultra-luxury resort known as The 13 opened this fall but without a casino. DICJ officials said all the permits for slot machines and table games were exhausted, and no new concessions would be issued until 2019.

SJM Holdings said it operated 1,408 mass market tables and 291 VIP tables in the third quarter of 2018. It hopes to receive DICJ approval to greatly expand on those numbers with hundreds of new permits for Grand Lisboa.

The last major casino resort to open in Cotai was MGM Resorts’ $3.4 billion property. The gaming floor opened with 177 mass market tables, but no VIP tables.

MGM CEO Jim Murren said he wasn’t concerned with the lack of VIP tables. “I believe we have created a resort that exactly targets the market that’s the fastest growing today – the upper-end mass market,” the executive explained.

Casinos in Macau have been catering to more of the general public than the high roller in recent years. The recent opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, which cuts auto travel time from Hong Kong to Macau from four hours to 40 minutes, is expected to further grow mass market play.