r Tam told reporters that the government will review the requests based on the ratio between the gaming and non-gaming investment made, and on the number of tables already in-place.
However, the secretary stressed that there won’t be any significant increase in the number of live gaming tables in the upcoming two years, until new casino properties start opening in Cotai. Last Thursday, Sands China’s COO David Sisk said he expects to get 200 new gaming tables allotted to Sands Cotai Central casino resort within the first quarter of 2013.
Mr Tam also said that the government has yet to decide on the number of gaming tables to assign to each of the new gaming projects already approved for Cotai. He said that the investment in non-gaming facilities would be taken into account by the government.
“The decision to assign gaming tables does not come out that quickly because we have to consider all the new projects in Cotai and give out the approval as a whole,” the secretary said.
In 2011, Mr Tam had announced the government would restrict the rate of gaming tables growth to no more than 3 % per year starting in 2013. Yesterday, he reaffirmed that goal, adding that the overall number of live gaming tables should increase by 2,000 in the next 10 years.
As of September last year, the city had 5,497 live gaming tables. That was very close to the maximum limit of 5,500 tables set by the government for the 2010-2012 period. Some analysts fear that this will not be enough to meet the needs of the new projects opening in Cotai.