Don’t expect any changes to Macau’s table gaming cap anytime soon.
Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong Vai Tac said Thursday there will be no changes to the government’s policy of capping the number of live dealer gaming tables until at least the end of 2022, GGRAsia reported.
Speaking during a Macau Legislative Assembly plenary sitting, Leong said the government is standing by the cap it already set, which aims to limit the total number of tables to 3 percent compound annual expansion from a base of 5,485 tables recorded in 2012.
“The allocation of gaming tables will depend on whether their proposals meet our guidelines,” Leong said, according to the news outlet.
The table games cap was announced in 2011, with a baseline clearly set at 250 tables for each new property in the city state.
In 2013, the first year under the cap, the government allocated 250 tables. No new tables were allocated in 2014, but 2015—the third year of the cap—saw the allocation of 445 tables to five casinos or operators: SJM Holdings, Macau Legend Development, Galaxy Macau phase 2, Broadway Macau, and Macau Studio City.
Based on the government’s computation, there are only 1,097 tables left to be shared by the four major Cotai projects—Wynn Palace, MGM Cotai, Parisian and Lisboa Palace—that have yet to open, according to Union Gaming Securities Asia Ltd. analyst Grant Govertsen.
If all goes according to the government’s plan, Govertsen believes the four new casinos will also get 250 tables each. This, in turn, will leave only 97 tables for “either the Big 6 operators or to various satellite casinos who would also be interested in securing allocations of table games.”
“These 97 tables are, in theory, all that would remain available after the opening of Lisboa Palace in late 2017 and the end of 2022,” Govertsen said in a note.
The analyst, however, is not too concerned about the impact the modest table game allocations will have to the casino operations in Macau.
“After all, even the smaller operators have some number of tables they can reallocate from the peninsula to Cotai, electronic table games can serve as a stop-gap measure, and, perhaps most importantly, we believe a real number of tables could very well become available from satellite casinos over the coming quarters (via various economic arrangements),” Govertsen said.