Lisboeta Macau Project Could Include SJM-Affiliated Satellite Casino

Posted on: June 13, 2019, 07:57h. 

Last updated on: June 13, 2019, 10:02h.

SJM Holdings is considering placing a satellite gaming venue at the Lisboeta complex now under construction in Macau — perhaps with the help of another company.

SJM Holding CEO Ambrose So Shu-Fai is considering a satellite casino at the Lisboeta complex now under construction in Macau. (Image: Macau Business)

The Lisboeta hotel and entertainment property currently does not include a casino in its plans. But if SJM gets involved in a casino at the property it likely would be promoted by a third party, says CEO Ambrose So Shu-Fai — also referred to as Ambrose So, GGRAsia reported.

Satellite casinos on Macau typically use the gaming license of an existing operator in the Chinese gaming enclave, the report explained. For instance, some 16 satellite gaming venues on Macau use SJM Holdings’ gaming license.

Lisboeta Macau is a HKD5 billion (US$639 million) project to be opened perhaps sometime next year. It is near Grand Lisboa Palace, which is a SJM venue also being built.

SJM is considering options that would provide synergies between the two properties. For instance, a local newspaper, Hoje Macau, reported that So speculated SJM could provide tables for a gaming venue in Lisboeta — if they are redirected from a satellite casino.

We are not moving our tables — those [directly] operated by [SJM Holdings] — into Lisboeta. But we will consider moving some of the tables that we get back from satellite casinos, to them…,” So said.

Construction on the HKD36 billion (US$4.6 billion) Grand Lisboa Palace will likely be completed by the end of 2019, Daisy Ho Chiu Fung, chairman of SJM Holdings, was quoted by GGRAsia. The company has yet to announce the official date when the venue will be opened.

The Grand Lisboa Palace may have 100 new-to-market gaming tables, So said. In comparison, when MGM Cotai opened last year, the promoter, MGM China Holdings, got 100 new-to-market live gaming tables from the government for the opening, GGRAsia said. Some 25 new tables were added this year.

“We can only apply for gaming tables from the government when everything is completed,” So explained. “We have the flexibility of moving some other tables from our existing operations [to Grand Lisboa Palace], to make up for what is necessary.”

As of December, Grand Lisboa Palace officials planned to ask Macau gaming regulators for authorization of between 300 and 500 new-to-market table games for the Cotai Strip resort.

Extended Licenses

In March, SJM Holdings and MGM China Holdings were given two-year extensions for their licenses allowing them to operate Macau casinos. Both companies will pay a one-time fee of $25 million for the privilege.

The two companies as well as four other operators on Macau will see their licenses expire during 2022. Union Gaming Analyst Grant Govertsen said in a note “that at some point towards the middle of the next decade the rebid process will commence.… We also expect a seventh (or eighth) concession could materialize.”

As the companies look forward to expansion and renewing their current licenses, they also need to pay more for their workers. MGM China, Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts, Melco Resorts, Galaxy Entertainment and SJM Holdings recently announced wage increases or annual bonuses for employees.

Appealing to Mass Market Guests

Most casinos in the region also want larger crowds to visit, as they have focused on mass market patrons. Macau venues saw a 27 percent surge during February’s Chinese New Year festival where more than 1.2 million people traveled to the gaming hub.

Many of the island’s casinos are trying to attract a higher number of upscale guests and high rollers, too, as they open suites in hotels. There are some 41 casinos on Macau, and several of these may expand.