The Grand Lisboa Palace casino opened over the weekend, and this $5 billion project includes 150 new table games. To make sure that the casino provides its patrons with the best gaming experience, SJM Resorts intends to relocate 118 table games, including VIP baccarat, to the property.
Grand Lisboa Palace, The $5 Billion Casino
According to SJM Holdings, the parent organization to SJM Resorts, the company has the approval to transfer its games and SJM Resorts has stated that the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ for its Portuguese acronym) has given its signature of approval. The fillings were made with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Before Macau was returned to China in 1999, SJM held a monopoly on the gambling market there. It is also the oldest operator in Macau, which is considered by many as the gambling capital of the world.
SJM has the longest history in Macau’s casino market, but Las Vegas Stands claims the record for the Cotai Strip. Even though SJM was hesitant about exploring options in Cotai, it turned out to be a massive success, as this is where some of the world’s richest gamblers like to come and play the featured games.
The DICJ states that the Grand Lisboa Palace can have 150 new table games, but as mass-market tables. SJM owns five Macau casinos, which it also operators. At the end of Q1 in 2021, it operated 1,066 mass-market games, 117 VIP and 1,207 slot machines.
SJM Ready for a New Era in Gaming
The Chair of SJM Holdings, Daisy Ho Chiu Fung, commented on the new casino. She stated that it will take the property around a year to stabilize itself and break even. Speaking on the timeframe, she added that every staff member will do anything and will strive to make it shorter, but there are just too many external factors. Ambrose So Shu Fai, the vice-chairman and chief executive of SJM Holdings, added that just because the casino is open, it will drive interest from consumers as the company has never operated in Cotai before.
The first phase of the casino included 300 self-branded guest rooms, a casino space and restaurants, as well as space for various events. Ho stated that the company aims to complete all of the remaining phases by the end of the year. That includes luxury hotel towers branded by Palazzo Versace and Karl Lagerfeld.
Livy Lyu, Derek Choi and DS Kim, analysts with JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd, stated that Grand Lisboa Palace’s high-quality rooms and ample inventory will make it a premium-mass segment. Additionally, they think that the casino could fundamentally change the business itself, as the quality of the rooms is combined with the fact that SJM Holdings gains access to the Cotai market.
Mass-Market Games And VIP
VIP tables are crucial to regaining market losses that SJM Resorts had in the VIP demographic. These tables are designed for high-end customers. But, even though mass-market games have a maximum wagering limit set by DICJ, that doesn’t mean that they are not profitable. That’s because these maximum limits can be as high as several thousand US dollars.
On the other hand, VIP tables do not have these limits since they are designed for high-rollers/VIP players. With these tables, it is up to the casino to determine what the limits should be. The game of choice in Macau is baccarat, as it dominates most casino floors.
In terms of the generated revenue, VIP baccarat grossed over $16.9 billion in 2019. As for mass-market baccarat, the revenue was $15 billion. These numbers combined state that the game of baccarat was responsible for $31.9 billion of the total $36.5 billion that the casinos made from all games based on luck that year.