r Tam said the government had already agreed that Studio City could apply for a casino in 2006, when the original investors in the project requested it.
Mr Tam also admitted that some of the new 2,000 live gaming tables to become available until 2023 under the 3-percent average yearly growth rate cap to be introduced next year, could go to Studio City.
Melco Crown only bought into Studio City last year, but it has always said the project would include a casino.
Earlier this year, the government revised the land concession contract for the project, but still didn’t include any casino facilities in it.
According to some analysts, the Studio City casino will be allowed under a service provider agreement.
This method has previously been allowed for gambling facilities in new hotel-casinos that are not fully-owned by a gaming operator, as it is the case of Studio City. Because the land has been granted to companies that don’t have a casino licence (or are not fully-owned subsidiaries of a concessionaire), the inclusion of gaming facilities in the land contract could have raised legal issues.
However, in such cases, the request to include a casino can therefore be made separately from the land concession request, and by a licenced gaming operator.
The gaming licence holder needs to request government approval to operate gambling facilities as a service provider at those properties.
This is the kind of arrangement that allowed the Ponte 16 and L’Arc casino-hotels to accommodate gaming facilities.