SJM Begins Work on Lisboa Palace in Cotai
Asia’s biggest casino operator, SJM Holdings, is to spend HK$30 billion ($3.9 billion) to build its first resort in the Cotai area of Macau. The figure is HK$5 billion more than first predicted due to higher construction and labor costs.This week SJM broke ground on the project. Named the Lisboa Palace the resort will have up to 700 gambling tables and 1,200 slot machines. It is scheduled to open in 2017 and will have three hotels with over 2,500 rooms including a luxury hotel built in partnership with Gianni Versace.
The resort is being built on a 70,500-square-meter site. The US architectural design company WATG has been employed for the project. Lisboa Palace is to be modeled after Versailles as a French theme “resonates well” with customers from mainland China.
Grant Govertsen, a Macau based analyst for Union Gaming Group said, “Mainland consumers view Europe in general and France in specific as very aspirational destinations.”
SJM is following in the footsteps of its competitors which built a number of family-friendly attractions in their resorts to draw middle class holiday makers from mainland China. Last year casino revenue in Macau rose 19% to $45 billion, about seven times more than in Las Vegas.