Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau has rejected Melco Resorts’ request to install new live gaming tables at its $1.1 billion Morpheus expansion at the City of Dreams Macau. The Gaming Bureau agreed to allow 40 gaming tables to be moved from other Melco resorts in Macau.

The Chinese gaming destination’s top regulators said they would review the need for more gaming tables next year, but otherwise emphasized the need of Melco Resorts & Entertainment to promote non-gaming attractions over gambling.

Over the past 3 years, Macau-based casino companies have faced restrictions on the number of gaming tables allowed at new resorts in the former Portuguese colony, which has become the world’s largest casino destination.

Macau Gaming Table Allotments

When multi-billion dollar casinos like Melco’s Studio City, Las Vegas Sands’s Parisian Macau, Wynn Resorts’ Wynn Palace, and MGM Resorts’ MGM Cotai opened, each was given a small number of gaming tables. The assignment of gaming tables appeared to be arbitrary, because each resort was allotted a different amount of tables. In all cases, the operators were allowed to move dozens of gaming tables from other resorts they owned in the city.

At times, casino executives like Lawrence Ho and Steve Wynn have criticized the allotment given to new integrated resort-casinos, despite multi-billion dollar investments in the Macau gaming sector. In each case, the executives walked-back their remarks, while Las Vegas Sands Corp CEO Sheldon Adelson chose to praise Macau’s gaming regulators.

Gaming Inspection & Coordination Bureau Statement

In announcing its gaming table allotment for Morpheus, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau said in a statement, “The [government of Macau] has granted approval to the respective gaming concessionaire to transfer 40 gaming tables not including slot machines from its other casino properties to Morpheus in 2018. Next year, the [government of Macau] will study whether it will allow the gaming concessionaire to add new gaming tables to Morpheus.”

Lawrence Ho designed Morpheus, which opens this week, to cater to non-gaming customers. One point of the expansion of City of Dreams Macau was to add luxury hotel suites to the property which conform to the industry standards of 2018.

Despite the goal of accommodating some of Macau regulators’ desire to focus on non-gaming amenities, Melco is a gaming company and their resorts in the city are supposed to lure casino visitors. Thus the number of baccarat tables is important to offsetting the costs of building a $1.1 billion resort.

The Gaming Inspection Bureau emphasized in its ruling how important it considers the non-gaming aspect of resort expansion in Macau, stating, “It must be reiterated that in order to prevent the gaming concessionaires over-emphasizing the development of gaming and at the same time to encourage them to increase their investment in non-gaming, the [government of Macau] has continuously implemented different measures.”

Morpheus Hotel & Spa

The Morpheus addition is designed to garner attention. Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid designed a 770-room luxuty hotel with an “exoskeleton” unlike anything else seen in Macau. The resort includes 12,900 square feet of space for non-gaming amenities, including retail space, an art gallery, a “sky pool”, several new restaurants, and a spa. They sky pool is located 426 feet above the ground and is reminiscent of the infinity pool on top of the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

An outside observer can see that Melco introduced many factors which cater to the Gaming Inspection Bureau’s preferences. Despite the nods to officials’ previous orders, the second floor of Morpheus contains a Bespoke-branded gaming area. Beyond that, several VIP gaming areas exist on the property.

Morpheus’s Private Casino Salons

Eight different “private casino salons” are attached to villas in the Morpheus resort. To enter the private casino areas, a visitor has to either be a member of the Li Ying Club loyalty program or have arrived as a guest of one of the city’s junket operators.

The high roller industry at in Macau has fallen off by more than 50% since the anti-corruption crackdown began in mid-2014. That still makes Macau the biggest destination for VIP gamblers in the world, so the 8 private gaming sections at Morpheus are going to be a lucrative part of the operation.

About the Author
April Bergman avatar
April Bergman

April Bergman was a longtime news blogger for BOC. She wrote gaming news posts from January 2013 until September 2018. April also wrote slot reviews, strategy articles, and online casino reviews for the site.

April Bergman began in the online gaming industry in August 2010. From 2010 to 2013, she managed evergreen content for several top online casino. Her duties included developing and maintaining multiple websites in the gaming space. When not writing about online gambling, April loves horse racing, travel, photography, and gardening. She's began in the business as a devoted poker players and spent several years as a card game editor on the now-defunct DMOZ. These days, she lives with her husband and two children in the Toronto metropolitan area.

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April Bergman was a longtime news blogger for BOC. She wrote gaming news posts from January 2013 until September 2018. April also wrote slot reviews, strategy articles, and online casino reviews for the site.

April Bergman began in the online gaming industry in August 2010. From 2010 to 2013, she managed evergreen content for several top online casino. Her duties included developing and maintaining multiple websites in the gaming space. When not writing about online gambling, April loves horse racing, travel, photography, and gardening. She's began in the business as a devoted poker players and spent several years as a card game editor on the now-defunct DMOZ. These days, she lives with her husband and two children in the Toronto metropolitan area.

READ MORE
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