The Hong Kong-based integrated casino resorts operator Melco has added three new gaming rooms to its Macau venues, it became clear during the recent opening ceremony of an indoor water park at the company’s Studio City property. The new gaming areas are intended for foreign nationals only. Two of them are housed in the City of Dreams integrated resort, while the third one was added to Studio City. The company decided to expand its existing gaming venues to better accommodate the growing number of foreigners visiting the special administrative region after the easing of the pandemic-related restrictions.
Lawrence Ho, who chairs the company, touched upon the expansion during the opening ceremony, explaining that the stream of tourists visiting Macau has been consistently on the rise after the authorities lifted the travel restrictions. Mr. Ho, who also holds the position of Chief Executive Officer at Melco Resorts, is confident that even more tourists will flock to Macau next month.
China’s special administrative region, whose economy relies heavily on the tourism and gaming sectors, took a serious hit over the past three years as a result of the raging coronavirus pandemic and the associated lockdowns that ensued. The stringent zero-covid policies enforced by China did not help the region’s struggling economy, either. Macau’s gaming operators subsequently witnessed a devastating decline in revenue, and Melco was no exception.
Melco Is Not Expected to Sustain Losses in 2023, CEO Says
The integrated resort company reported losses that reached the eye-watering amount of US$931 million in 2022 alone. The situation was nearly as grim during the previous year when Melco’s losses amounted to US$810 million. But things are looking up now that the travel restrictions eased and China reopened its borders. Mr. Ho is confident the financial results of Melco Resorts will improve and the company will not sustain losses this year.
And while Melco will have to put in extra efforts to clear its bank debts, Ho relies on the company’s signature gaming and non-gaming facilities to bring in more tourists to the region. Apart from the new indoor waterpark, the company also unveiled the much-anticipated opening of the luxurious Epic Tower at Studio City, which houses 338 lavish hotel suites.
When asked when the new hotel accommodations would become available for booking by the general public, Mr. Ho responded that Melco has pinpointed May 1st as the date of the full opening. Until then, the Epic Tower would remain exclusively reserved for Melco’s key customers. The ceremony was attended by Ms. Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, who heads the regional government’s tourism office. Ms. Fernandes commended the integrated resort operator for its continuous efforts in bringing unique entertainment attractions to Macau.
The gaming industry in the special administrative region continues to recover, as last week, Macau reported a gross gaming revenue (GGR) amounting to $1.58 billion, a figure that indicates a considerable year-on-year increase. This growth is largely attributed to the resumed package tours that attract an increasing number of visitors to the administrative region. With that said, more efforts will be necessary for Macau’s economy to return to its pre-pandemic levels.