The 13 Hotel Misses Another Opening, Macau Regulators Say Property Remains Unlicensed
Posted on: July 31, 2018, 02:00h.
Last updated on: July 31, 2018, 03:18h.
The 13, a long-delayed Macau hotel and casino, remains unlicensed to commence operations. Regulatory officials say despite two inspections in as many months, the $1.6 billion resort isn’t permitted to welcome guests.
South Shore Holdings, the parent company to The 13 that was previously known simply as The 13 Holdings, said in a recent filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that the hotel would open on July 31, 2018.
“Based on the current status of the hotel development and the working capital on hand, the directors of the company believe that they could obtain all the licenses for the operation of hotel business from the relevant authorities by the end of July 2018,” South Shore said.
However, the company admitted that while “the expected opening date of the hotel is July 31,” further time might be needed. The new planned opening is now set for August 31, 2018.
GGRAsia, an online media outlet focused on Asian gaming markets, confirmed with the Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) that The 13 isn’t ready for business. Macau officials said inspections of the 200-room all-villa hotel were completed in June and July, but the agency is waiting for its construction technicians to sign off on the latest review.
Envisioned by flamboyant billionaire Stephen Hung, The 13 has been a financial nightmare for investors. The Hong Kong businessman began attracting shareholders in 2013 at the height of Macau’s casino success.
But as Chinese President Xi Jinping began cracking down on junkets transporting high rollers from the mainland and loaning them money to gamble with in Macau, casino revenues plummeted. While gross gambling went from $45 billion in 2013 to less than $28 billion in 2016, Hung pressed on, and spared no expense in the process.
The most infamous example of the company’s seemingly careless spending came when The 13 purchased over $20 million worth of Rolls-Royce vehicles to serve as shuttles more than a year before the hotel would even need them.
Investors began running as Macau casino stocks fell on the Xi crackdown. It quickly led to finances drying up for Hung.
Shares of The 13 Holdings have lost nearly all of their value, as they’re currently trading for HKD 0.70, or about nine cents in US currency. Hung resigned in February.
Hung’s goal with The 13 was to build Macau’s most exclusive five-star casino resort. With costs now exceeding $1.6 billion, the hotel will be perhaps the most expensive ever built with each suite running $8 million to construct.
South Shore is targeting a March 2019 opening for its casino, and plans to go after the “high stakes mass market.”
Analysts are concerned that The 13’s location, which is in the Coloane Village roughly a half-mile south of the glitzy Cotai Strip, will make it difficult if not impossible to attract the ultra-wealthy demographic it seeks free of a casino.
The VIP high roller might not be enticed by a short Rolls-Royce ride, and would prefer to stay in the heart of the action where endless five-star treatments and attractions are offered.