MGM China has received official approval from the Macau government for the US.5 billion casino hotel the company plans to build in the territory’s booming Cotai resort district.
Publication in the government’s official gazette means the Hong Kong-listed subsidiary of U.S. casino giant MGM Resorts International has cleared another hurdle toward a second casino to compete with operators that have a bigger presence in the $38 billion Chinese gambling enclave.
The company received the land concession in October for the project, which will feature a five-star, 1,600-room hotel, a casino with 500 table games and 2,500 slot machines, pending government approval, and an expansive package of non-gambling leisure and entertainment attractions.
The approval is “a very important milestone in the project’s development timeline, and likely came sooner (perhaps significantly sooner) than investor expectations,” said analyst Grant Govertsen of investment firm Union Gaming Research Macau.
MGM China paid 450 million patacas (US$56.4 million) as an initial installment on its 25-year, 1.29 billion pataca lease of the 18-acre site. The project still requires construction approvals before building can start. Govertsen estimates it will open by mid-2016.