he Macau government's surprise decision to impose a cap on tables a few years ago was a reminder of the regulatory risks companies face in the Chinese territory. Macau, which earns about six-times the gambling revenue of the Las Vegas Strip, is a crucial market for U.S.-based casino operators battling an anemic Las Vegas.
However, in recent years, policy moves such as the government's decision to cap tables and limit the number of foreign workers businesses can bring to Macau have presented challenges for operators eager to expand. Sands, which opened a massive new property last year, has been particularly affected by the rules.
Neither representatives from Sands nor Macau's gambling regulator immediately returned requests for comment.
In 2010, the Macau government said it would cap the number of gambling tables in the Chinese territory at 5,500 until 2013. It later clarified that the amount of tables in the area would only be allowed to increase by 3% per year after that. Including the additional tables granted to Sands, Macau would now have 5685 gambling tables, or 20 more than it's supposed to, based on Macau government data from the end of 2012.