Casino News

MGM Cotai Still Pending Hotel License Approval ahead of Chinese New Year

The gambling industry of Macau experienced a major breakthrough over the past several years. Macau’s thriving gambling market continues to gain steam despite the government’s crackdown on the gambling industry in China. With its premier casinos and never-ending gambling options, China’s gambling enclave of Macau is one of the preferred entertainment destinations in the world, especially for visitors from mainland China. Macau is home to six major casino operators, including MGM China Holdings which often dominates the headlines.

It is not a secret that MGM China eyes a major foray into Cotai Strip. The HKD27-billion MGM Cotai is the operator’s second casino venture in Macau, which was expected to open back in 2016. However, the company behind the ambitious casino project needed to push back the grand opening of its new gambling property to a later date due to several construction delays. Earlier this month, MGM China announced that the gambling property will open its doors on 13th February, but not on 29th January as it was initially announced.

But the hail of problems for MGM Resorts’ new integrated resort in the Cotai district of Macau seems to continue. Yesterday, Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, director of the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) announced that MGM Cotai is still pending its hotel operating license. She added that the tourism bureau cannot promise that MGM Cotai will get the license ahead of the Chinese New Year period, which will be on 16th January this year.

Ms. Senna Fernandes explained that MGM Cotai needs to receive the approval for the operation of its five-star hotel also from other agencies, which might take some more time. On Friday last week, Ms. Senna Fernandes told casino news outlet GGRAsia that the tourism bureau is yet to issue the license for the operation of the hotel. The casino operator has not approved an official opening date for its gambling property.

MGM Cotai’s Jagged Road to Opening

According to Morgan Stanley analysts, MGM Cotai’s delayed opening, lower number of tables and smaller size of rooms in comparison with other recently opened integrated resorts in Cotai may have a serious negative effect on the gambling property. Last week, Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lionel Leong Vai Tac announced that the gambling company is authorized to add 100 new gaming tables for operations on opening its multi-billion casino property.

On 1st January next year, the MGM China is allowed to add 25 more new-to-market live dealer gaming tables. In addition to that, the gaming inspectorate allowed MGM China to transfer 77 tables from MGM Macau to MGM Cotai. This means that MGM Cotai is to open with a maximum of 177 mass tables.

The recent news for the delayed casino license will be yet another severe blow to the property’s profitability. The Chinese New Year is one of China’s most significant cultural events and it is the best time of the year for the booming gambling industry. Many industry experts are currently asking themselves if MGM Cotai is still a winning bet.