MGM Resorts International CEO and President Bill Hornbuckle has outlined the company’s interest in a potential integrated resort development in Thailand should a push to legalize casinos become a reality.
But significant further investment into Macau looks less certain as the company weighs up license re-tendering requirements in the current COVID-impacted business environment.
Hornbuckle was commenting during MGM’s 2Q22 earnings call on Thursday morning (Asia time) after the company announced a US$1.8 billion profit for the quarter, aided by record results in Las Vegas and in spite of a US$52 million EBITDAR loss in Macau.
With a growing war chest on the back of recent asset sales, Hornbuckle said MGM continues to look towards potential M&A opportunities globally, including in Thailand.
“Obviously we have a keen interest and will invest several billion dollars in Japan if we are given the opportunity, and that will be another cornerstone for us in Asia,” he said in response to questions about potential M&A activity.
“Between that and Macau we feel pretty comfortable with what’s going on there. Obviously we will watch, like everyone, what happens in Thailand – or anywhere else for that matter – but we like where we are and we’d like to be in Japan at scale.”
MGM’s Macau-based subsidiary, MGM China, is also preparing its tender documents after the Macau SAR Government published its RFP requirements late last week, Hornbuckle confirmed, however he suggested the company may be reluctant to invest significantly into the market under current COVID conditions and with a shorter 10-year license period on offer.
“The 10-year window presents some challenges when you think [that] we’re still in the midst of COVID, so the idea of a significant investment would have to be something we would really understand and study,” he said.
“There are a lot of things the government wants around social programming, employment, job opportunities and other things that we are going to dig heavily into. There are a lot of things around programming and existing square footage that we already own as we [move] out of junkets and into more mass gaming – [a lot of things] around experiences, around culture, around event activity. Ultimately there is a big push on, which plays to our [strengths], around sports. Sports entertainment is a big push – they would love to see more of that activity case in that market – and I think we’re ideally positioned to be able to do that as well.”
Hornbuckle said he expects all six current concessionaires to submit proposals under Macau’s RFP, however he remained tight-lipped when asked about recent reports suggesting MGM had expressed interest in acquiring a stake in Genting Singapore, operator of Singapore’s Resorts World Sentosa.
“We will continue to aggressively look at M&A and act to the extent it makes sense but I really don’t want to comment on the Singapore situation,” he said.