Melco Resorts and Entertainment has made the surprise decision to stop offering VIP gaming at Macau integrated resort Studio City in early 2020.
In an announcement filed with the SEC, Studio City International Holdings Limited said it had been informed by Melco subsidiary Studio City Entertainment Limited that VIP rolling chip will cease on 15 January 2020.
The decision comes just over two years since Studio City introduced VIP play, having originally opened as a mass-only property in 2015.
Melco has given no reason for the decision, which comes at a busy time for the property. It seems that they aimed at improving the profitability of each VIP table by relocating them to a more suitable property, according to analysts.
It was announced in mid-2018 that Melco had been granted a deadline extension to 24 July 2021 to complete construction of Studio City Phase 2, set to be a completely non-gaming extension of Studio City’s current offerings.
The company also launched an IPO last year, later announcing proceeds of US$406.7 million. Melco said that money was to be used to acquire newly issued shares in its subsidiary MSC Cotai Limited, which holds a 60% stake in Studio City. MSC Cotai Limited would subsequently use those proceeds to repay debt.
Studio City saw VIP rolling chip volume of US$5.1 billion in 3Q18, holding steady on the same period in 2017.