Mariah Carey has been recruited to front this week’s glitzy ceremony, while other famous faces involved in promoting the project include actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. Studio City, which will be Melco’s third resort in Macau, will have a Hollywood theme and will feature a Batman flight simulator ride and a figure-8 Ferris wheel.
There will be 250 gaming tables, which is less than the 400 requested by Melco but more than many had predicted the government would approve. It is hoped that the casino will prove to be lucrative by targeting the non-VIP sector in much the same way as many Las Vegas venues have done, due to the current situation in Macau.
Many of the high rollers are staying away from the region because of a crackdown on corruption from the Chinese government and the recent economic slowdown, but Melco co-chairman Lawrence Ho is confident the new Studio City venture has been pitched at the right market. He told reporters: “This is the future of China. The rise of the middle income earning bracket and the rise of the more sophisticated well-travelled customer.”
Steve Wynn, the owner of Wynn Resorts, criticised what he felt were unfair practices led by the government in Macau earlier this month and there are doubts over whether new projects will arrest the recent slide, but it will be fascinating to find out if the hype around Studio City’s launch can reap rewards for a troubled industry.