MGM Resorts has finally opened its $3.4 billion casino resort ‘MGM Cotai’ to the public after going back and forth with its opening date due to a number of reasons. The billion dollar casino resort has opened just a few days before the ‘Chinese New Year’ (CNY) – which is a two week long holiday that usually sees an influx of mainland visitors coming to Macau’s casinos.
MGM Cotai Not Yet Fully Operational
The Cotai district is the most happening place in the Macau peninsula and is home to the Wynn Palace and Las Vegas Sand’s Parisian Macao casinos which opened in the second half of 2016. MGM Cotai was to be the third billion dollar casino resort to open in the Cotai district and together all three resorts were expected to boost gross gaming revenues in the region.
MGM Cotai has faced numerous challenges during the last 24 months that has forced the company to postpone its opening date on more than one occasion. The management and staff have worked extra hard to pull off an opening before the popular CNY holiday period which was important for MGM Cotai in order to capitalize on this holiday period as gaming and non-gaming revenues usually witness a spike during CNY.
MGM Cotai opened to the public today (Feb 13) but is not yet fully operational. The casino resort will have a total of 1390 hotel rooms and suites. This is split into 27 luxury villas, 99 VIP suites, 16 skylofts and 1248 standard resort rooms. Less than half of these rooms will be operational during the opening and this will hurt MGM Cotai’s revenues. The company has confirmed that a little over 500 rooms are operational and all of them have already been reserved for CNY. The remaining rooms are expected to be opened in phases but no time frame has been confirmed as of now.
MGM Cotai Gaming Floor
MGM Cotai has dedicated 10 percent of its overall floor area to gaming. This is still quite large as the casino floor is expected to occupy 500,000 square feet while its convention space will cover 300,000 square feet. The casino was expected to have 2500 slot machines and 500 table games but only 177 gaming tables will be operational at the time of its opening.
Macau’s gaming regulator only approved 100 live tables for MGM Cotai and the remaining 77 have been transferred from MGM Macau to MGM Cotai. There will only be 982 slot machines available during the opening as that is all that MGM Cotai got approved from the gaming regulator. This was quite disappointing for MGM China considering the fact that the company invested $3.3 billion into developing the Cotai casino. Macau’s gaming regulator released another 25 live tables in Jan 2018 and is expected to approve more tables in the months to come.
MGM Cotai has confirmed that the gaming floor will open with tables allocated for both mass market and premium market players. However there has been no allocation for VIP gamblers as MGM Cotai has preferred to focus on the mass and premium segment during the opening phase. The casino will make provision for VIP tables in the coming months as Macau’s VIP market has recovered and is once again generating significant revenue for Macau’s casinos.
In a statement, James Murren, Chief Executive Officer for MGM Resorts said “It’s a perfect time to open right at the eve of the year of the dog. I believe we have created a resort that exactly targets the market that’s the fastest growing today, the upper-end mass market.”
Macau Operators Happy With CNY Bookings
Macau casino operators have been happy with the bookings they have received at their properties for CNY. Wynn Resorts which has two casinos in Macau and Galaxy Entertainment have confirmed that their hotel rooms have been fully booked for CNY. Wynn Macau chairman Allan Zeman said the response has been very good and wished that Wynn had another hotel to keep up with the demand.
MGM Macau also reported that all of its hotel rooms were booked for CNY and MGM China will be a bit disappointed that MGM Cotai could not open at full capacity and start off with a bang.

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