Macau’s casino regulators won’t authorize any new gaming tables at Melco Resorts & Entertainment’s new Morpheus property this year.
MRE’s architecturally striking $1.1b Morpheus tower will have its formal grand opening ceremony on Friday, June 15. But the new addition to MRE’s City of Dreams property won’t receive any new-to-market gaming tables from Macau authorities, at least, not this year.
On Thursday, GGRAsia reported that Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) had confirmed that it had granted MRE the right to transfer 40 gaming tables from its other properties to Morpheus. But the DICJ said any decision on whether to approve new table allocations to Morpheus won’t happen until 2019, if at all.
The DICJ justified its decision as necessary to ensure the regulator doesn’t exceed its principle of limiting annual table growth to 3% until 2023, one year after the government will have (hopefully) sorted out its casino concession renewal process.
Macau’s infamous gaming table cap was introduced in 2013 as a way of tempering the drastic growth the gaming market had undergone in recent years. Since then, even the new mega-resorts on Cotai have been allocated far fewer tables than they would have preferred.
Last month, MRE boss Lawrence Ho expressed hope that Morpheus would be allocated at least some new gaming tables. But, perhaps reflecting pessimism regarding this request, City of Dreams also announced the closure of its PokerStars-branded live poker room. Ho later revealed that the poker business “was never profitable” and was “taking up gaming tables” that could be re-allocated to more profitable premium mass baccarat gambling.
The DICJ’s current math indicates that it will have around 482 unallocated gaming tables following the opening of SJM Holdings’ first Cotai property, the Grand Lisboa Palace, in 2019 (or 2020, if current construction progress is any indication).
GGRAsia reported that Morpheus will feature eight private “gaming salons” to which the property’s villa guests can request access. Junket operators can make these requests on behalf of clients, but preference will reportedly be given to MRE’s in-house gaming brand Li Ying Club.