HONG KONG - Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd said on Thursday that it will open its HK$15 billion (S$2.44 billion) new resort on May 15, with the timing roughly in line with analyst expectations.
One of six companies licenced to operate casinos in the world's largest gaming market, Galaxy's 550,000 square metre property is likely to be the only new casino to open in the former Portuguese enclave this year.
Galaxy's Hong Kong-listed shares, about 20 per cent owned by European private equity firm Permira, have nearly tripled in value over the past 12 months, outperforming casino magnate Sheldon Adelson's Sands China Ltd, Steve Wynn's Wynn Macau Ltd, and Macau tycoon Stanley Ho's SJM Holdings Ltd.
Macau, the only Chinese territory that permits casino gambling, has transformed in recent years from a sleepy outpost on the South China sea into a pulsating maze of neon lights and glitzy edifices.
Valued at around $6 billion, Galaxy already has two casinos in Macau. It's third property, Galaxy Macau, will open next to Adelson's Venetian property on the Cotai strip.
The new resort, described as "Asian-centric" in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange, will have a sky-top wave pool and a nine-screen multi-purpose cinema.
Analysts said the opening was unlikely to take significant market share from other operators, with SJM expected to continue to dominate the market despite an ongoing public spat between the octogenarian and his extended family.
"I think for the first three or four months, first-timers will want to get in there and try it out. I think that is where the major impact is going to be," said RBS analyst Philip Tulk in Hong Kong. "I feel that all operators to some degree will feel the impact for the first few months."
Singapore-listed Banyan Tree Holdings Ltd and Japan's Okura Hotels and Resorts will make up about a third of Galaxy Macau's hotel rooms, with the gaming company holding the remaining 1,500 rooms.
Sands China said it was on track to unveil its new property at the end of this year. Las Vegas Sands Corp, the Macau operator's parent, has attracted scrutiny from U.S. anti-corruption agencies over its compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.