Studio City will open in the most difficult period in Macau’s history but Melco Crown Entertainment’s boss remains positive on the mass gaming market.
Melco Crown will open its third casino in Macau on Tuesday (27). Although the city has seen its gross gaming revenue fall for the last 18 months, Melco’s chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho is hopeful that opening the $3.3b Studio City in a slumping market would prove a smart gamble for the company.
“What has been going on with the Chinese economy, especially the anti-graft campaign, has made the VIP environment more challenging in the near term, as fear has been driven into the hearts of many of the middle-to-upper class,” Ho told Fairfax Media. “However, the gaming market, especially the mass market segment, still has much potential for development.”
The company opened City of Dreams in Macau six years ago during the “financial tsunami” but according to Ho, the resort casino had achieved great success for the company while helping to turn the city into a world-class entertainment hub.
“Our successful experience with City of Dreams gives us added confidence that Studio City, with its high-end brands and unique attractions, will significantly strengthen that city’s appeal to local customers and international visitors seeking an exciting leisure and entertainment experience,” Ho added.
“The Macau government has been very supportive in encouraging the industry to diversify. Studio City with its wide range of spectacularly unique entertainment offerings inspired by Hollywood-style glamour is set to take entertainment to an unprecedented level of excitement in Asia and subsequently redefining Cotai and Macau while driving revenue growth,” said Ho.
Last week, in addition to 1,233 gaming machines, the Macau government granted a total of 250 gaming tables to Melco Crown; 200 will launched on Tuesday and the remaining 50 to be in operation by January 2016.
In addition to gaming, Studio City has a diverse portfolio of non-gaming entertainment offerings designed to cater to the mass-market segment. Studio City will offer 1,600 new hotel rooms in Macau, in addition to world’s highest Ferris wheel and a 40,000 square-foot Warner Bros. indoor play center.
The opening celebration will also feature the world premiere of Macau’s first Hollywood produced short-movie, The Audition, which is set around a Studio City storyline starring Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Academy-award winning director Martin Scorsese.