MGM China has received approval from the Macau government to proceed with a US$2.5bn casino project expected to open in 2016 on the gambling hub’s Cotai strip.
With towers believed to be based on stacks of patterned Chinese jewellery boxes, the project will fill a 17.8-acre site where MGM will build a five-star hotel with 1,600 hotel rooms and develop a casino with 500 gambling tables and 2,500 slot machines as well as restaurants, retail and entertainment facilities.
Jim Murren, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of MGM Resorts and Co-Chairman of the Board of MGM China, said: “Now that the official transfer of real estate in Cotai has occurred, we will focus our full energies on the commencement of construction of our Cotai resort and casino. Our design is in its advanced stage and will bring a new level of excitement, sophistication and entertainment to Macau.”
The operator, 51 per cent of which is owned by MGM with the rest belonging to Macau partner Pansy Ho, did though pledge to pay the Macau government US$56.4m as an initial instalment to rent the land needed for the project.
Pansy Ho, MGM China Chairperson, said: “We are extremely grateful to the Macau government for the opportunity to develop our Cotai property. MGM China is dedicated to continuing to grow with Macau as it develops into an international tourism destination.”
Union Gaming Group analyst Grant Govertsen said: “This is a very important milestone in the project’s development timeline and likely came sooner (perhaps significantly sooner) than investor expectations.”
It will be MGM’s second property in Macau, its first on the Cotai Strip and its first anywhere in the world since completing the $9.2bn CityCenter in 2009 in Las Vegas. MGM is also in the running to develop casinos in Maryland and Massachusetts.