MGM Cotai may not be open in time for Chinese New Year, with the head of the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) claiming that she can’t guarantee the property will be granted the necessary licenses by 16 February.
The comments, from MGTO boss Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, were made to Macau News Agency on Wednesday following MGM China’s announcement last week that the opening of its US$3.2 billion integrated resort would be delayed from its planned 29 Januaru 2018 launch date.
“We are still waiting for the evaluations of other technical departments involved in the process. If everything is up to the standards, we can advance with the inspection and eventually issue the licence,” she said.
Ms Fernandes added that the MGTO “will try” to issue the hotel license by Chinese New Year but that “there are other documents which other departments expect to receive and that the gaming operator itself still has to provide.”
Her statement comes as financial services firm Morgan Stanley observed that “the project seems fully ready to open.”
In a Wednesday note, Morgan Stanley analysts said the latest delay in opening would likely harm the company in the short term but added it was difficult to accurately predict the success of the property long-term given similar surprises surrounding MGM Cotai’s neighbors, including Wynn Palace, Studio City and the Parisian.
“We believe the delay in the opening of the casino resort and the lower number of tables could impact our 2018 MGM Cotai EBITDA estimate negatively,” it said. “However, our fully ramped-up EBITDA estimate should not change much.
“It is important to note that early impressions of the casinos have not been accurate in predicting the eventual success of a casino, but even so, many investors found this resort underwhelming.”