Macau Concessionaires Planning $13.5B in Nongaming Investments

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Macau’s six casino concessionaires will spend $13.5 billion over the next decade, at the behest of the local government, on nongaming amenities.

Wynn Macau. The operator is among those that will spend $13.5 billion on nongaming investments. (Image: NPR)

The requirement comes as part of the special administrative region’s (SAR) newly updated gaming regulations and arrived as the operators signed new 10-year permits that go into effect on Jan. 1. It was a stipulation of license renewal that the casino companies commit more capital to nongaming ventures. The projects should be running the gamut of art, culture and sports attractions to luring more meetings, incentives, convention and exhibition (MICE) business to the peninsula.

Among the various, upcoming nongaming investments are plans by Sands China to add a glass conservatory to its famed garden at the Londoner Macau on the Cotai Strip. That operator is also pledging to add more MICE-related fare at the Cotai Expo Center at the Venetian Macau.

Sands China has pledged to spend MOP 30 billion (USD $3.75 billion) through 2032 on both capital and operating projects, including MOP 27.8 billion (USD $ 3.5 billion) in non-gaming projects that will also appeal to international visitors,” according to a statement issued by the company.

The six Macau Macau operators are Galaxy Entertainment, Melco Resorts & Entertainment, MGM China, Sands China, SJM Holdings, and Wynn Macau.

Nongaming Tab Expected, Not Seen as Burdensome

The level of nongaming commitments was widely expected by industry analysts, and isn’t viewed as particularly burdensome.

That’s an important point not only because the concessionaires need to make those investments to appease local regulators, but also because the group saw its debt surge since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. That’s prompted some analysts to forecast that it will be multiple years before the casino companies can repair the balance to pre-COVID form.

Sands China is expected to be the biggest spender on nongaming investments, and will look to lure new visitors to Macau through marketing campaigns in South Korea, Japan, India, Southeast Asia, and the US. Rival Galaxy Entertainment is taking a similar approach, and is expected to open offices in Singapore, South Korea and Thailand while boosting marketing efforts in India and other parts of Southeast Asia.

“Sands will also develop several new restaurants and introduce innovative international culinary concepts to support Macao’s position as a city of gastronomy. The company will also launch a luxury yacht experience featuring on-board dining and entertainment including celebrity appearances, as well as water sports,” according to the statement.

Melco, Wynn Plans

Other operators are planning impressive nongaming projects as well. For example, Lawrence Ho’s Melco Resorts will build Macau’s first year-round, indoor waterpark. That concessionaire is also pledging to launch a three-year residency concert program — Asia’s first — to bring some of the world’s top musicians to its Macau venues. At least 90 shows are expected.

Wynn Macau, the operator of two integrated resorts in the SAR, will build a theatre for “a unique spectacle that Wynn will develop especially for Macau in support of world-class entertainment shows.” The operator is also looking to expand its sales footprints in markets, including Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Canada, and the US, to drum up more Macau business.

“Wynn will also develop regional and international partnerships with airlines that serve both Macau and Hong Kong, as well as explore charter and private flights services for its guests,” noted Wynn Macau CFO Craig Fullalove at a recent presentation.

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