MGM Cotai gets new name and 38-ton, gold-plated lion mascot


mgm-cotai-lionMGM Resorts’ latest Macau casino has a new name and a shiny new mascot to announce its imminent arrival.

On Tuesday, MGM China unveiled an 11-meter, 38-ton statue of a lion that will command the north entrance to MGM Cotai, the company’s in-development Macau integrated resort. The company hopes the statue, which is gilded in around 32k sheets of 24-karat gold leaf, will become “an important landmark attraction” and a “signature icon of Macau.”

MGM also announced that MGM Cotai will have a new Chinese name when the oft-delayed property opens in the second half of 2017. Chinese guests will know the property as Mei Si Mei Gou Mui 美獅美高梅, which translates as ‘Beautiful Lion, Beautiful MGM.’ (Guess ‘Beautiful Baccarat Money Hoovering Zone’ was taken.)

In attendance at this week’s unveiling was MGM China co-chair Pansy Ho, who said the imposing lion statue “reveals our passion and dedication for MGM Cotai and its significance.” Ho said MGM’s two Macau properties “each possesses distinctive characteristics strategically put in place to enhance the city’s diversified non-gaming offerings.”

MGM China reported flat revenue in its most recent quarterly earnings report, but MGM China CEO Grant Bowie told reporters that Macau’s gaming industry had “turned a corner” now that “customers are coming back to Macau.”

However, Bowie also cautioned that the volume of returning customers had yet to catch up with the addition of two new Macau integrated resorts last year. Bowie said all indications were that “new capacity exceeds the growth that we have experienced in the market” but Bowie believed “more positive outcomes” were on the way.

Last August, Bowie indicated that MGM Cotai would open without any VIP gambling tables. On Monday, Bowie said MGM China’s strategy was to “work a portfolio” that included both VIP and mass market gaming, “but our particular focus is on mass and that particularly is our focus for Cotai.”

Bowie also suggested that the industry had dodged a bullet after the Macau government decided that casinos could keep their smoking lounges, even if the government’s proposed standards for ventilating these lounges is much stricter than the industry had proposed.

While allowing casinos to retain the smoking lounges on the main gaming floors, the government is ending the practice of VIP gamblers being allowed to smoke at the tables, although casinos can construct smoking lounges inside the VIP rooms. Bowie noted that a total smoking ban “would definitely have an impact on our gaming revenues,” and the compromise “ensures the safety of our staff, but also gives a choice to our consumers.”