Lisboeta slated to open in May but casino still remains an uncertainty

The MOP5 billion resort project Lisboeta is scheduled for a soft opening in May, but the property has yet to apply for government approval in setting up gaming tables even though it has facilities designed as casinos.

The company behind the new Cotai project – Macau Theme Park Resort Co. Ltd. – was founded by SJM (880) Co-Chairman and Executive Director Leong On Kei and her son Arnaldo Ho. Lisboeta was originally planned as a theme park and was scheduled to be opened in mid-2020; it had already obtained a four-star hotel licence. However, the opening was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to informed sources, the new opening date will be sometime in May.

The site of the Lisboeta project was originally planned for the construction of the Hello Kitty Land theme park. As the planned theme park failed to deliver, the land was used to build several resort hotels instead.

Lisboeta’s founder, Leong On Kei, has never publicly confirmed whether the new project would contain any casino although some of its facilities are a replica of “Macau Palace”, one of the oldest casinos in Macau and its interior furnishings are aimed at bringing back the charm and vibes of the gaming floor of “good old Macau”.

In reply to Allin Media’s inquiry about Lisboeta’s application for gaming tables, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau said they had not received any application from the company.

According to industry experts, Lisboeta will not be considered breaching the rules as long as its casino facilities are not open to the public when it is due for soft opening in May.

SJM’s Vice Chairman Ambrose So has said earlier that the company might enter into a deal of satellite casino with Lisboeta but it would still had to obtain government approval first.

So far only Suncity Group has publicly declared interest in setting up VIP rooms at Lisboeta, and the signboard of Suncity can now be seen inside the property. It remains unclear whether other junket operators will enter into new ventures in the wake of the pandemic.