SJM raises mass-market gaming table numbers

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 June, 2013, 4:19am

SJM Holdings, Asia's biggest casino operator by revenue, is to increase the number of mass-market gaming tables at its casinos in Macau to boost its income, amid widespread expectation of slower growth in the high-rollers VIP gambler market.

SJM's chief executive, Ambrose So Shu-fai, said the minimum bet limit has been upgraded for about 10 per cent of SJM's gaming tables in the mass market since the beginning of this year. He said the minimum stake is adjusted regularly between high and low seasons.

Growth in the VIP gambling sector has slowed as the mainland economy faces a lacklustre outlook, and the new administration in Beijing tries to promote a less flamboyant life-style among governmental officials.

So said the industry had not been hit by the mainland's curbs on spending by civil servants. He said the recent news that residents in Guangdong province will be allowed to apply for permits to visit Hong Kong and Macau at the same time would boost the gaming industry in Macau. The company is in discussion with Angela Leong On-kei, the fourth wife of the gaming magnate Stanley Ho Hung-sun, on cooperation on a Cotai project, according to So. He said an agreement might be reached in the second half of this year.

SJM has been given permission to develop its first casino property in the Cotai Strip. The company has announced plans for a casino resort with 700 gaming tables, 1,000 slot machines and 2,000 hotel rooms.

Shares in SJM dropped 0.2 per cent yesterday to close at HK$21.2, while the Hang Seng Index fell 0.4 per cent.