FRANCIS TAM REAFFIRMS: No more than 3% increase in gaming tables during next 10 years
The Secretary for Economy and Finance Francis Tam Pak Yuen said on Friday that the limit of 5500 gaming tables until 2013 has almost been reached, and “the average yearly increase in the next 10 years cannot exceed three percent.” This would mean around 2,000 new tables for the gaming operators during the next decade.
The government will evaluate the distribution of the number of gaming tables requested by the remaining five casino projects, namely Wynn, MGM, Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (SJM) and Galaxy at Cotai, as well as the upcoming Studio City project, which presented its request for a casino opening before 2008. It’s the first time Tam has confirmed that Studio City is among the operators who are eligible to apply for a new casino. He only mentioned SJM, MGM, Galaxy and Wynn in the past.
The main evaluation criteria for the distribution of tables will be the “scale and proportion between the elements related and the ones not related to gaming.” As to Studio City, Mr Tam added the information that “they were given the land already in 2003. The question is whether or not this land can have casinos or not”, he stated. “At the time of the first request they did not include any projects for casinos. It must be evaluated.” According to the Secretary, “this can’t be done fast.”
Also, the requested 400 gaming tables for the recently-opened Sheraton Hotel in Sands Cotai Central will probably be approved “only next year”. The government had originally agreed to this number of tables and 200 were approved already. The Secretary also referred to Sands’ “little Paris” project saying, “This is no new project, as it had already been integrated into the Venetian and Four Seasons projects. It’s only the construction works that are divided into different phases.”