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Macau-based gaming operator to open its casino in Colombo

By: Staff Writer

May 06, Colombo (LNW): A Macau-based gaming operator is set to open its casino at the City of Dreams Sri Lanka in mid-2025.

Melco Resorts had been awarded a 20-year casino license to operate City of Dreams Sri Lanka, in the country’s capital of Colombo.

The Macau-based gaming operator is rebranding the former ‘Cinnamon Life Integrated Resort’ into City of Dreams Sri Lanka, the ‘first integrated resort in Sri Lanka and South Asia’, which the group expects to ‘revolutionize luxury hospitality, entertainment, and leisure’ in the nation.

Melco will be managing the top five floors of the hotel under its ‘Nuwa’ brand, some 113 of the total 800 rooms in the property.

Meanwhile, the group has also been engaged to ‘operate the gaming area at City of Dreams Sri Lanka’.

The casino investment is expected to be about US$125 million and is expected to commence operations ‘mid-2025’. The overall integrated resort, valued at more than $1 billion is ‘expected to commence operations in the third quarter of 2024’.

Melco Resorts & Entertainment has partnered with John Keells Holdings for the project, with the developer continuing to operate some 687 hotel rooms in the property.

City of Dreams Sri Lanka project could achieve Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) ranging between $200 million to $250 million on a run-rate basis, the group’s management revealed.

During the group’s conference call after the announcement, Melco’s EVP and CFO, Geoff Davis, also stated that with the recently announced Sri Lanka project, the group’s total CAPEX for 2024 is estimated to be approximately $415 million, $50 million of which would be for the Sri Lanka endeavor.

For Davis, this forecast aligns with the initial phase of casino development, which corresponds to an estimated capital expenditure of $125 million for casino fit-out. However, while the property should open in the third quarter of this year, the casino itself should only debut in mid-2025.

India is definitely the most interesting feeder market and there is very significant potential there. And there is some level of domestic spending as well he said adding that their goal will be to address those feeder markets in India and more broadly in the region.

Speaking of the development, Melco’s Chairman and CEO, Lawrence Ho, noted that “City of Dreams Sri Lanka is expected to serve as a catalyst for stimulating tourism demand and promoting economic growth in Sri Lanka, drawing inspiration from the successful examples set by similar integrated resorts in other jurisdictions”.

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