SJM’s Lisboa Palace won’t have VIP tables; Louis XIII might not have a casino

TAGs: Casino Grand Lisboa, Macau, SJM Holdings

macau-vip-slowdownMacau casino operator SJM Holdings says its in-development Lisboa Palace resort won’t have any VIP gambling rooms when it opens, given how few VIPs actually visit the world’s number one gambling hub these days.

The Lisboa Palace is scheduled to open on Cotai in Q4 2017 but SJM executive director Angela Leong On Kei says the property probably won’t have any VIP rooms when it launches. Macao Daily quoted Leong telling reporters on Sunday that the decision to add VIP rooms would likely be a game-time decision based on whether the demand for such a product actually exists.

SJM’s market-driven plan follows Melco Crown Entertainment’s decision to launch its new Studio City resort with nary a single VIP table. Melco based part of its decision on Macau’s depressed VIP market but also because the property was issued only 250 gaming tables – 200 now, 50 more on Jan. 1 – rather than the 400 it had been expecting. SJM’s original plan for Lisboa Palace called for 700 tables, an expectation that now seems very unlikely indeed.

The timing of Macau’s VIP slowdown couldn’t be worse for Louis XIII Holdings, which is constructing an über-luxurious boutique hotel on the Cotai-Colaone border that’s set to open next summer. Putting on a brave face, the company filed papers with the Hong Kong exchange this week saying its “niche strategy of targeting a global clientele of high net worth customers seeking a unique luxury experience is well positioned to compete in a slow market.”

The filing made no mention of an on-site casino, in contrast to previous statements that the property would open with 66 gaming tables (50 premium mass, 16 VIP). Opening a casino would require Louis XIII to strike a sub-licensing deal with one of Macau’s six casino concessionaires but, given the Macau government’s insistence on adhering to its gaming table cap, Louis XIII’s unnamed dance partner may have decided to sit out this particular tango.

Regardless, the company says its property, which will be known as Louis XIII, has completed its exterior development and has now “commenced interior works.” No doubt they have a few extra rooms whose furnishings require some rethinking.


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