MGM China is planning to open its long-awaited MGM Cotai mega-resort in Macau on February 13, in time for the highly lucrative Chinese New Year period.

MGM Cotai to open February 14

The MGM Cotai has experienced delay after delay but is finally expected to open next week, in time for Chinese New Year, although its unclear whether it will be operating at full capacity. (Image: MGM China)

This is despite a Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) statement of last week that the property had not yet been awarded the necessary hotel and amenities licensing it needs to accept staying guests.

MGTO officials told GGRAsia they “could not guarantee” the $3.45 billion MGM Cotai would have licensing in time for Chinese New Year holiday, which kicks off on February 16, but declined to elaborate any further.

Nevertheless, on Tuesday local media received invitations for the property’s “Grand Opening” in one week’s time. In response, GGRAsia approached MGM to ask whether all the resort’s facilities would be open on February 13 but received no reply as of Tuesday evening, local time. MGTO also failed to deliver an update.

On February 13, in anticipation of Chinese New Year, we will host the official grand opening ceremony and gala dinner to be officiated by our government officials and celebrated with our community and partners from all over the world who served an integral role in helping us successfully develop and bring this spectacular resort to the market,” said the invite.

Don’t Hold Your Breath

This is the second time, though, that invitations have been printed and sent to guests. Embarrassingly for MGM China, its previous “Grand Opening” was scheduled for January 29.

But the company’s stock slipped on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange when the party was cancelled four days before the big day.

That itself was the fourth time the company had pushed back the launch date. MGM Cotai had initially been expected to open in 2016.

Then the early 2017. Then late 2017, only to be delayed due to an act of God, as typhoon Hato battered the enclave and caused damage to the final construction phase.

Table Scraps for MGM Cotai

When it does, finally, open its doors, the resort – a joint enterprise between Macau casino royalty Pansy Ho and US casino giant MGM Resorts – will have 1,400 rooms and feature 177 mass market gaming tables, 950 slot machines and 200 electronic table games.

Macau authorities have capped gaming tables since 2013, in an effort to limit table gaming to a 3 percent compound annual expansion until the end of 2022.

Late last month the enclave’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lionel Leong Vai Tac, announced MGM Cotai would be awarded just 100 live gaming tables on its opening, plus additional 25 more at the beginning of next year.

That’s fewer than other recent entrants to the market, the Parisian Macao and Wynn Palace, which each received 150.

An additional 77 tables are expected to be brought from the company’s downtown property, MGM Macau.