SJM Holdings Executive Director-cum-CEO Ambrose So Shu Fai said on Thursday that the China-US trade war was set to impact Macau’s gaming revenues to some extent if it continues.
However, he insisted that for the time being the city’s overall gaming receipts are still on a positive upward trend.
So made the remarks while speaking to reporters after officiating at the traditional blessing ceremony for the gaming company’s dragon boat team at the Nam Van Lake Nautical Centre.
This year’s Dragon Boat Festival takes place on June 7.
Responding to a reporter’s question about the possible impact of the protracted China-US trade war on Macau’s casino sector, So said that if the war continued it would impact the city’s gaming revenue to some extent, regardless of whether the casino is owned by a US gaming operator or an Asian company.
Three of Macau’s six gaming companies are owned by US operators – MGM, Wynn and Las Vegas Sands. The other three operators are owned by Macau and Hong Kong firms.
The income from SJM casinos’ VIP rooms did not meet the company’s expectations during the past few months, while the income from mass-market gaming tables was better, So said, adding that the company planned to attract more VIP gamblers by providing high-quality services.
So also said that the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, (HKZMB) which came into service in October, and the development of the Greater Bay Area (GBA) were both bringing new opportunities to the local gaming industry.
“Although there has been little fluctuation in the gaming revenue recently, it is on an upward trend in general and I believe that the prospects of the industry are positive”, So added.
When asked about the launch date of Grand Lisboa Palace, So said that the project would be completed by the end of this year, after which SJM still needed to wait for the government’s inspection and approval of the building , adding that he was looking to open the property as soon as possible and that SJM was already gradually employing staff for the casino-hotel resort.
SJM initially planned to open the resort in 2017. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, such as fires and accidents as well as the damage caused by Super Typhoon Hato that occurred during the construction over the past few years, the expected opening date has been shifted several times, according to local media reports.
Responding to a reporter’s question about the company’s recent announcement that some 90 percent of the entertainment attractions at Grand Lisboa Palace will be nongaming facilities, So noted that the hotel-casino resort will include a shopping mall, restaurants and shows, adding, “You will get to know our most attractive facilities after the opening of the hotel.”
When asked by the media about the number of gaming tables at Grand Lisboa Palace, So said that the company planned to apply for additional gaming tables only shortly before the resort opens, adding that the final number of tables would be decided by the government.
If the number of newly approved gaming tables is less than what SJM expected, it would move some gaming tables to Grand Lisboa Palace from the company’s other properties, according to So.
According to the website of the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ), SJM owns 22 of Macau’s 41 casinos.