Grand Opening of Studio City Casino’s Indoor Water Park on Macau’s Cotai Strip

Studio City, a sprawling casino and entertainment resort situated on Macau’s luxurious Cotai Strip, is eager to unveil its latest attraction – an indoor water park that will remain open throughout the year. The park will welcome its initial visitors this Thursday, April 6.

The outdoor water park at Studio City in Macau has now been extended to include an indoor component at the Cotai Strip integrated casino resort. Studio City’s indoor water park is scheduled to open its doors this week. (Image: Melco Resorts)

Studio City is owned and managed by Hong Kong-based Melco Resorts. After establishing City of Dreams as its first integrated resort in Macau, Melco developed Studio City to be a Hollywood-themed property that, in contrast to its nearby competitors, caters more to families than high rollers.

In May 2021, Melco opened the outdoor water park at Studio City. The casino is now ready to introduce the all-weather indoor area of the park. The facility, located at the rear of the resort adjacent to the Studio City Event Center, features 16 water attractions, including seven water slides, two wave pools, and an “Oblivion Pool” that extends both indoors and outdoors.

Moreover, there is a surfing simulator, a 246-meter rapids course, an artificial rock climbing wall, and a diving pool. The indoor water park is a part of Studio City’s “first stage” of the casino’s “second phase” expansion.

Melco Resorts’ CEO and Chair Lawrence Ho commented on the development, noting Melco’s track record of contributing to Macau’s ongoing development as a world center of leisure tourism. “Studio City Phase 2 reaffirms our ongoing commitment to the city and contributes to reinforcing Macau’s non-gaming proposition in Asia and internationally,” he said.

Melco Resorts was founded through the dissolution of Melco International and Crown Resorts’ partnership called Melco Crown Entertainment. In 2017, Ho split from Crown’s James Packer after Crown was targeted by the Chinese government for advertising its Australian gaming operations to Chinese people.

Non-Gaming Initiatives

Late last year, Macau issued new 10-year gaming licenses to its six casino operators. However, the concessions came with the requirement that each firm must invest significantly into non-gaming projects.

The six gaming giants – Sands, MGM, Wynn, SJM Resorts and Galaxy Entertainment being the other five licensees – consented to collectively spend $13.5 billion on amenities and resort improvements that are not associated with their casino floors. Melco’s nongaming share is roughly $1.24 billion.

In addition to the indoor water park, Studio City’s first phase of its second expansion development includes a new hotel tower. Named the Epic Tower, the new hotel has 338 suites.

Since the Studio City expansion was unveiled before Melco obtained its new gaming license, the indoor water park and Epic Tower will not count against the company’s $1.24 billion nongaming obligation.

Mass Market Appeal

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Macau was the world’s wealthiest casino market. Today, the six casino operators must face a significantly different operating climate.

VIP junket groups that had kept Macau’s high roller rooms bustling for many years have largely been driven out by the Chinese government located in Beijing. The Chinese President Xi Jinping’s administration concluded that junkets wrongly promoted gaming to the mainland’s wealthiest gamblers and assisted them in moving large amounts of money from the Communist Party’s oversight through the tax haven of Macau.

With fewer high rollers regularly in town, the casinos are refocusing their efforts on the mass market. While these patrons usually gamble less, the casinos do not offer nearly the same incentives to the general public, allowing the properties to generate higher margins.

However, analysts contend that Macau’s effort to emulate Las Vegas in transitioning from a gambling-first destination to a more comprehensive entertainment and convention hub might not be a smart gamble.

“For the past 20 years, none of the operators have managed to make any considerable progress in nongaming,” Ben Lee, a gaming analyst focused on Macau and Asian markets, said in January. “Contrary to the vaunted Las Vegas model, nongaming in Asia does not carry the same profit margin, as spending behavior is quite distinct here.”

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Studio City, a lavish casino and entertainment resort on Macau’s luxurious Cotai Strip, is prepared to introduce its newest attraction – an indoor