SJM Holdings isn’t satisfied with the amount of gaming tables it has at its Grand Lisboa Palace casino in Cotai. The company is coming off a successful third-quarter performance that saw its gaming revenue increase by 9.5%, which SJM is using to convince the government that a larger gaming operations will mean more profits for the city. It has now asked Macau’s government to authorize between 300 and 500 more gaming tables for the casino, according to the company’s CEO and vice-chairman, Ambrose So Shu Fai.
Speaking to local reporters this past Sunday, So said that the company had approached the city about the tables, adding, “Regarding Grand Lisboa Palace, we hope to finish that project by next year. So that in the first half [of 2019], we have sufficient conditions to apply for the operation permit [for Grand Lisboa Palace] from the government.” He further indicated that the company is optimistic about the growth of Macau’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) next year, which he believes will be increased due, in part, by the new Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.
The Grand Lisboa Palace, which is requiring a $4.6-billion outlay to be completed, is expected to be completed during the last quarter of next year or in 2020, predicts brokerage firm Sanford C. Bernstein, while others expect it to open as early as the third quarter. Bernstein doesn’t share SJM’s view regarding GGR in Macau and has said that it doesn’t expect the new venue to be as successful as SJM anticipates. Bernstein recently stated of the Grand Lisboa, “… [D]ue to the high construction cost of the property and low return on investment in the first few years after opening, we foresee poor value creation for the Grand Lisboa Palace compared with other new Cotai properties.”
In order to appease regulators, So asserted that the company would reallocate some if the gaming table inventory from existing locations in the city to its new Cotai project. He didn’t specify how many of the tables would be removed and sent to the Grand Lisboa.
According to SJM’s recent financial report, the company operated, on average, “1,408 mass market gaming tables” and “291 VIP gaming tables” in Macau.