Melco’s Studio City to stop VIP gaming from 2020

Melco Resorts & Entertainment’s Studio City IR in Macau plans to stop VIP rolling chip operations from January 15, 2020, reflecting its second switch on high rollers since opening in 2015.

The company gave no reason for the decision in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Hollywood-themed resort opened its doors in Q4, 2015 and was the first IR in Macau to debut without VIP gaming. The property launched with 200 tables, with a further 50 to be permitted a year after opening. Initially, all were reserved for the mass market, amidst a strict government cap on table allocations and a push for operators to move away from high rollers to a broader-based, more family oriented leisure market.

However, the company reversed course a year later, announcing the opening of VIP rooms from Suncity Group and Tak Chun Group.

Announcing Q3 results, Studio City said revenues from provision of gaming related services in relation to Studio City VIP gaming operations amounted to $12.3 million in the third quarter of 2018, compared with $16.8 million in the third quarter of 2017, representing a decrease of 27 percent.

“There is no assurance that VIP tables will continue to be operated at the Studio City Casino beyond November 2019,” it said at the time.

Studio City International Holdings, the joint venture through which Melco operates the resort, held an initial public offering in the U.S. in October last year. The offering diluted Melco’s interest in Studio City will be diluted from 60 to 57.3 percent.