MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) said its China unit could spend up to $150 million in capital expenditures in Macau this year.
MGM China, which is 56% owned by the Las Vegas-based casino-resort operator, runs MGM Cotai and MGM Macau in the special administrative region (SAR). The gaming company estimated 2023 Macau capex of $110 million to $150 million.
We have planned capital expenditures in 2023 of approximately $795 million to $835 million domestically, which is inclusive of the capital expenditures required under the triple-net lease agreements, each of which requires us to spend a specified percentage of net revenues at the respective domestic properties, and an estimate of approximately $110 million to $150 million at MGM China,” according to the operator’s annual report recently filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
It’s unclear if that $110 million to $150 million slated for this year is part of the $2.1 billion MGM China plans to spend as part of its new 10-year concession. Under the terms of Macau’s recently enacted gaming laws, operators must spend approximately $15 billion combined over the next decade on efforts such as nongaming amenities and luring visitors to the casino hub from Asia-Pacific nations beyond China.
MGM China Forecasting Big Nongaming Spending
The MGM Cotai operator estimates it could spend up to 90% of that projected total on nongaming fare, signaling a willingness to play ball with Macau officials who are demanding that concessionaires boost amenities that are not part of the casino floor.
A timeframe for exactly when Macau casino operators will begin unleashing capital expenditures isn’t immediately clear. That’s understandable because the companies are coming off a treacherous three-year span in which gross gaming revenue (GGR) and cash flow was severely depressed, owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
MGM’s efforts to offer visitors more than just wagering options could serve the aim of attracting a more diverse customer base while reducing dependence on VIPS — a segment that’s now difficult for Macau operators to bank on in the wake of the junket industry’s demise.
“We have focused our business on main floor gaming operations and, accordingly, VIP gaming operations were not a significant source of revenue in 2022 and we do not expect VIP gaming operations to be a significant source of revenue in future years,” according to the annual report.
Other MGM China Nongaming Efforts
In a bid to lure more meetings, incentives, convention, and exhibition (MICE) business to its Macau integrated resorts, and to reduce its dependence on visitors from mainland China, MGM China is taking steps to accomplish those goals.
The operator is doubling the number of sales staff and increasing its network of international sales locations, the bulk of which will be concentrated in the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East.
Analysts view Macau as integral to the MGM investment thesis because the SAR offers geographic diversification — something some rivals on the Las Vegas Strip don’t possess.
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