SJM Holdings Co-Chairman and Executive Director Angela Leong On Kei says the company is “doing our best” to prevent any further delays to the opening of its Cotai integrated resort, Grand Lisboa Palace, due to the coronavirus pandemic, despite challenges faced by current restrictions on the entry of non-resident workers to Macau.
Speaking with Inside Asian Gaming on Thursday following a plenary session of the Legislative Assembly, Leong said she expected to have more information on the progress of Grand Lisboa Palace after meeting with the SJM board but explained, “We had done a lot of preparations before [the outbreak of COVID-19] and we are doing our best and doing everything we can do at this moment.
“But we know we cannot control when the pandemic will finish. Some of our contractors cannot come back into Macau, so it is difficult.”
SJM has previously flagged an opening date of December 2020 following numerous construction delays in recent years.
Leong declined to comment on the government’s recent declaration that it would not be cutting gaming taxes to help alleviate the pressure on Macau’s gaming operators, despite gross gaming revenue falling 87.8% to just MOP$3.10 billion in February. However, she offered support for the strict restrictions still in place on Macau’s gaming floors, including limits on the number of players allowed at any one gaming table and a ban on standing behind seated players.
“Whether they cut or don’t cut the gaming tax, it is a very difficult time for everyone,” she said. “It is hard to predict when the gaming industry and economy in Macau will recover.
“But we should follow the government’s policies because health is the most important thing for everyone. If we act recklessly to recover our economy, the situation might get worse.
“All gaming operators have been very conscientious in responding to the government’s policies for preventing the spread of COVID-19, and have been showing their support for the local community.”