SJM Resorts plans to relocate its 118 table games on the Macau Peninsula to the newly opened Lisboa Casino Resort.
SJM Holdings, the parent company of its gaming and hospitality division SJM Resorts, said it has been granted permission to reallocate casino tables from other casinos to Grand Lisboa. In a securities filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, SJM Resorts explained that the Macau Gaming Supervision and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) has signed off on the transfer of casino tables.
SJM has received authorization from DICJ to transfer other gaming tables from other casinos operated by SJM to Grand Lisboa,” the notice explained.
SJM is the oldest casino operator in Macau, China. The late Stanley Ho’s gaming giant, SJM, had a monopoly on gambling in the region for decades before Macau was returned to China from Portugal in 1999.
Five more commercial casino operators were licensed in 2002, and Las Vegas Sands Corp – one of the new concessionaires – soon began developing the Cotai Strip on reclaimed land. The area is now a hub for the wealthiest gamblers to stay and play.
$5B casino taking shape
DICJ limits the number of table games and slot machines allowed per casino location. The regulator has provided 150 new table games for the new casino, but they are designated as mass market tables.
SJM owns and operates five casinos in Macau. It also operates gaming operations at 14 hotels and resorts that it does not own. At the end of the first quarter of 2021, SJM Resorts reported operating an average of 177 VIP and 1,066 mid-course table games over the past three months. The company also manages 1,207 slot machines.
The Grand Lisboa Palace’s casino only has mass market tables, but that will soon change.
Daisy Ho, chairman of SJM Holdings, said DICJ has agreed to allow the casino resort to install 1,200 newly launched slot machines at the new Lisboa Palace. She added that 118 VIP tables will also be arriving soon, but did not reveal which casinos will be moving some of the luxury tables.
Mass vs. VIP
Grand Lisboa Palace is a US$5 billion bet by SJM Resorts to recover its market losses among the VIP segment. VIP tables are critical to the target audience of high-end luxury resorts.
DICJ limits the maximum bets that can be placed at mass market tables. However, this does not mean that every hand can feel like a large amount of money. The maximum bets at the mass market tables in the Cotai Casino can be in the thousands of dollars per hand.
VIP tables are not subject to the same betting limits. Instead, the casino can decide how much action it is willing to take. In order to cater to the highest level of Macau gamblers, casinos need such unlimited betting limits.
Baccarat is the game of choice in Macau. The game dominates most of the casino floors in the area.
In 2019, VIP Baccarat generated $16.9 billion in total gaming revenue. Mass Market Baccarat won another $15 billion. Combined, Baccarat accounted for $31.9 billion of the $36.5 billion won by casinos in the enclave from all games of chance that year.
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