Macau government grants 150 tables to new resort

The Macau government said it has granted 150 tables to a new resort scheduled to open soon, according to Lionel Leong, Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance.

He didn’t name the resort in the statement, however, Galaxy Entertainment is scheduled to open its new project on May 27th.

The 150 number is far short of the 400 the group had been expecting and will mean it will need to move tables from elsewhere in the group to fill the floor.

Leong said the allocation doesn’t go over the number established by the government. He added the figure reflects the contribution the new resort will make to Macau’s tourism industry and small and medium businesses.

He said no requests from other operators have been made so far. 

Market watchers have been closely following the issue of table caps in Macau for signs as to how strictly the government would stick to its cap of a 3 percent annual increase in tables. While the Galaxy allocation appears to signal the government is prepared to take a tough stance, the figure was in line with most analysts’ expectations. Some had said that a figure below 150 would have sent a negative signal to the markets.

The figure was also in line with the results of a poll conducted on the Asia Gaming Brief web site.

However, Melco Crown warned recently not to read an allocation to Galaxy as necessarily meaning it would not receive the 400 it has requested for its new Studio City resort. 

“Unfortunately, we are in the government’s hands. But we do believe that unlike Galaxy, which is really an expansion with additional hotel rooms, Studio City is the first integrated-resort to open in the city in the last three years”, Melco CEO Lawrence Ho said on a recent earnings call.

“Of course, the Galaxy table allocation is a telling indication for the potential of gaming tables for new properties. But we’re hopeful the Macau Government will really reward us with the contribution we have made over the years.”