Form 20-F
Table of Contents
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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
 
 
FORM 
20-F
 
 
 
REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR 12(g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
OR
 
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31,
2022
OR
 
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
OR
 
SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
Commission
file number 
001-38699
 
 
STUDIO CITY INTERNATIONAL HOLDINGS LIMITED
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
 
 
Not applicable
(Translation of Registrant’s name into English)
Cayman Islands
(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
71 Robinson Road #04-03, Singapore 068895 and 38th Floor, The Centrium, 60 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong
(Address of principal executive offices)
Company Secretary, Tel +852 2598 3600, Fax +852 2537 3618
38th Floor
,
The Centrium
,
60 Wyndham Street
, Central, Hong Kong
(Name, Telephone, E-mail and/or Facsimile
number and Address of Company Contact Person)
Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
 
Title of Each Class
 
Trading Symbol
 
Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered
American depositary shares
each representing four Class A ordinary shares
 
MSC
 
The New York Stock Exchange
Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
None.
(Title of Class)
Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act:
None.
(Title of Class)
 
 
Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the annual report.
770,352,700 Class A ordinary shares and 72,511,760 Class B ordinary shares outstanding as of December 31, 2022 
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule
 405 of the Securities Act.
    
Yes
  
    
No
  
If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section
 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
    
Yes
  
    
No
  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1)
 has filed all reports required to be filed by Section
 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2)
 has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
    
Yes
  
    
No
  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of
 Regulation
 S-T
 (
§
232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).
    
Yes
  
    
No
  
I
ndicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a
 non-accelerated
 filer, or an emerging growth company. See definition of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” and “emerging growth company” in
 Rule
 12b-2
 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
 
Large
 accelerated
 filer
  
 
Accelerated filer  
  
Non-accelerated filer  
 
  Emerging growth company  
If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  
† The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.    Yes  
    No  
If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements.  
Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b).  
Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:
 
U.S. GAAP  
 
International Financial Reporting Standards as issued
by the International Accounting Standards Board  
  
Other  
If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow.    Item 17  
    Item 18  
If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as
defined in Rule 12b-2 of the
Exchange Act).    Yes  
    No  
(APPLICABLE ONLY TO ISSUERS INVOLVED IN BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDINGS DURING THE PAST FIVE YEARS)
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed all documents and reports required to be filed by Sections 12, 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 subsequent to the distribution of securities under a plan confirmed by a court.    Yes  
    No  
 
 
 


Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

     Page  

INTRODUCTION

     1  

GLOSSARY

     4  

SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

     7  

EXCHANGE RATE INFORMATION

     8  

PART I

     9  

ITEM 1. IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

     9  

ITEM 2. OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

     9  

ITEM 3. KEY INFORMATION

     10  

A. [RESERVED]

     10  

B. CAPITALIZATION AND INDEBTEDNESS

     10  

C. REASONS FOR THE OFFER AND USE OF PROCEEDS

     10  

D. RISK FACTORS

     11  

ITEM 4. INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

     59  

A. HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE COMPANY

     59  

B. BUSINESS OVERVIEW

     60  

C. ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

     87  

D. PROPERTY, PLANT AND EQUIPMENT

     88  

ITEM 4A. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

     88  

ITEM 5. OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW AND PROSPECTS

     88  

A. OPERATING RESULTS

     89  

B. LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES

     95  

C. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT, PATENTS AND LICENSES, ETC.

     101  

D. TREND INFORMATION

     101  

E. CRITICAL ACCOUNTING ESTIMATES

     102  

ITEM 6. DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND EMPLOYEES

     106  

A. DIRECTORS AND SENIOR MANAGEMENT

     106  

B. COMPENSATION OF DIRECTORS AND EXECUTIVE OFFICERS

     109  

C. BOARD PRACTICES

     110  

D. EMPLOYEES

     115  

E. SHARE OWNERSHIP

     116  

F. DISCLOSURE OF A REGISTRANT’S ACTION TO RECOVER ERRONEOUSLY AWARDED COMPENSATION

     116  

ITEM 7. MAJOR SHAREHOLDERS AND RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS

     117  

A. MAJOR SHAREHOLDERS

     117  

B. RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS

     118  

C. INTERESTS OF EXPERTS AND COUNSEL

     124  

 

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     Page  

ITEM 8. FINANCIAL INFORMATION

     124  

A. CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS AND OTHER FINANCIAL INFORMATION

     124  

B. SIGNIFICANT CHANGES

     125  

ITEM 9. THE OFFER AND LISTING

     125  

A. OFFERING AND LISTING DETAILS

  

B. PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION

  

C. MARKETS

  

D. SELLING SHAREHOLDERS

  

E. DILUTION

  

F. EXPENSES OF THE ISSUE

  

ITEM 10. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

     126  

A. SHARE CAPITAL

     126  

B. MEMORANDUM AND ARTICLES OF ASSOCIATION

     126  

C. MATERIAL CONTRACTS

     136  

D. EXCHANGE CONTROLS

     136  

E. TAXATION

     137  

F. DIVIDENDS AND PAYING AGENTS

     142  

G. STATEMENT BY EXPERTS

     142  

H. DOCUMENTS ON DISPLAY

     142  

I. SUBSIDIARY INFORMATION

     143  

J. ANNUAL REPORT TO SECURITY HOLDERS

     143  

ITEM 11. QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

     143  

ITEM 12. DESCRIPTION OF SECURITIES OTHER THAN EQUITY SECURITIES

     144  

A. DEBT SECURITIES

     144  

B. WARRANTS AND RIGHTS

     144  

C. OTHER SECURITIES

     144  

D. AMERICAN DEPOSITARY SHARES

     144  

PART II

     146  

ITEM 13. DEFAULTS, DIVIDEND ARREARAGES AND DELINQUENCIES

     146  

ITEM 14. MATERIAL MODIFICATIONS TO THE RIGHTS OF SECURITY HOLDERS AND USE OF PROCEEDS

     146  

ITEM 15. CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

     146  

ITEM 16. [RESERVED]

     147  

ITEM 16A. AUDIT COMMITTEE FINANCIAL EXPERT

     147  

ITEM 16B. CODE OF ETHICS

     147  

ITEM 16C. PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTANT FEES AND SERVICES

     148  

ITEM 16D. EXEMPTIONS FROM THE LISTING STANDARDS FOR AUDIT COMMITTEES

     148  

 

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     Page  

ITEM 16E. PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES BY THE ISSUER AND AFFILIATED PURCHASERS

     148  

ITEM 16F. CHANGE IN REGISTRANT’S CERTIFYING ACCOUNTANT

     149  

ITEM 16G. CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

     149  

ITEM 16H. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURE

     150  

ITEM 16I. DISCLOSURE REGARDING FOREIGN JURISDICTIONS THAT PREVENT INSPECTIONS

     150  

PART III

     151  

ITEM 17. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

     151  

ITEM 18. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

     151  

ITEM 19. EXHIBITS

     152  

SIGNATURES

     156  

INDEX TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

     F-1  

 

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INTRODUCTION

In this annual report on Form 20-F, unless otherwise indicated:

 

   

“2018 Project Facility” refers to the senior secured project facility, dated January 28, 2013 and as amended from time to time, entered into between, among others, Studio City Company, as borrower, and certain subsidiaries as guarantors, comprising a term loan facility of HK$10,080,460,000 (approximately US$1.3 billion) and revolving credit facility of HK$775,420,000 (approximately US$99 million), and which was amended, restated and extended by the 2021 Studio City Senior Secured Credit Facility;

 

   

“2021 Studio City Company Notes” refers to the US$850.0 million aggregate principal amount of 7.250% senior secured notes due 2021 issued by Studio City Company on November 30, 2016 and as to which no amount remains outstanding following the redemption of all remaining outstanding amounts in August 2020;

 

   

“2021 Studio City Senior Secured Credit Facility” refers to the facility agreement dated November 23, 2016 with, among others, Bank of China Limited, Macau Branch, to amend, restate and extend the 2018 Project Facility to provide for senior secured credit facilities in an aggregate amount of HK$234.0 million, which consist of a HK$233.0 million (approximately US$29.8 million) revolving credit facility and a HK$1.0 million (approximately US$128,000) term loan facility, and which has been amended, restated and extended by the 2028 Studio City Senior Secured Credit Facility;

 

   

“2024 Notes” refers to the 7.25% senior notes due 2024 in an aggregate principal amount of US$600,000,000 issued by Studio City Finance on February 11, 2019 and as to which no amount remains outstanding following the redemption of all remaining outstanding amounts in February 2021;

 

   

“2024 Notes Tender Offer” refers to the conditional tender offer by Studio City Finance to purchase for cash any and all of the outstanding 2024 Notes, which commenced and settled in January 2021;

 

   

“2025 Notes” refers to the 6.00% senior notes due 2025 in an aggregate principal amount of US$500,000,000 issued by Studio City Finance on July 15, 2020;

 

   

“2027 Notes” refers to the 7.00% senior secured notes due 2027 in an aggregate principal amount of US$350,000,000 issued by Studio City Company on February 16, 2022;

 

   

“2028 Notes” refers to the 6.50% senior notes due 2028 in an aggregate principal amount of US$500,000,000 issued by Studio City Finance on July 15, 2020;

 

   

“2028 Studio City Senior Secured Credit Facility” refers to the facility agreement dated March 15, 2021 with, among others, Bank of China Limited, Macau Branch, to amend, restate and extend the 2021 Studio City Senior Secured Credit Facility to provide for senior secured credit facilities in an aggregate amount of HK$234.0 million, which consist of a HK$233.0 million (approximately US$29.8 million) revolving credit facility and a HK$1.0 million (approximately US$128,000) term loan facility;

 

   

“2029 Notes” refers to the 5.00% senior notes due 2029 in an aggregate principal amount of US$1,100,000,000 issued by Studio City Finance, of which US$750,000,000 was issued on January 14, 2021 (the “First 2029 Notes”) and US$350,000,000 was issued on May 20, 2021 (the “Additional 2029 Notes”);

 

   

“ADSs” refers to our American depositary shares, each of which represents four Class A ordinary shares;

 

   

“Altira Macau” refers to an integrated resort located in Taipa, Macau;

 

   

“board” and “board of directors” refer to the board of directors of our Company or a duly constituted committee thereof;

 

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“China” and “PRC” refer to the People’s Republic of China, excluding the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the PRC (Hong Kong), the Macau Special Administrative Region of the PRC (Macau) and Taiwan from a geographical point of view;

 

   

“City of Dreams” refers to an integrated resort located in Cotai, Macau, which currently features casino areas and four luxury hotels, including a collection of retail brands, a wet stage performance theater (temporarily closed since June 2020) and other entertainment venues;

 

   

“Concession Contract” refers to the concession contract executed between the Macau Special Administrative Region and the Gaming Operator on December 16, 2022, that provides for the terms and conditions of the concession granted to the Gaming Operator;

 

   

“DICJ” refers to the Direcção de Inspecção e Coordenação de Jogos (the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau), a department of the Public Administration of Macau;

 

   

“Greater China” refers to mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, collectively;

 

   

“HK$” and “H.K. dollar(s)” refer to the legal currency of Hong Kong;

 

   

“Management and Shared Services Arrangements” refer to, collectively, (i) the Master Services Agreement (the “Master Services Agreement”) entered into on December 21, 2015 by and between Studio City Entertainment, Studio City Hotels, Studio City Retail Services Limited, Studio City Developments, Studio City Ventures Limited, Studio City Services Limited and the Company (the “Studio City Entities,” each a “Studio City Entity”) and the Master Service Providers, and (ii) the individual work agreements (the “Work Agreements,” each a “Work Agreement”) which sets out the terms and conditions that apply to certain services to be provided thereunder and other arrangements for the provision of non-gaming services at Studio City by the Master Service Providers to the Studio City Entities and vice versa;

 

   

“Master Service Providers” refer to certain of our affiliates with whom we entered into a master service agreement and a series of work agreements with respect to the non-gaming services at the properties in Macau, and that are also subsidiaries of Melco Resorts, including Melco Crown (COD) Developments Limited (now known as COD Resorts Limited), Altira Developments Limited (now known as Altira Resorts Limited), the Gaming Operator, MPEL Services Limited (now known as Melco Resorts Services Limited), Golden Future (Management Services) Limited, MPEL Properties (Macau) Limited, Melco Crown Security Services Limited (now known as Melco Resorts Security Services Limited), MCE Travel Limited (now known as Melco Resorts Travel Limited), MCE Transportation Limited and MCE Transportation Two Limited (now known as MCO Transportation Two Limited);

 

   

“MCO Cotai” refers to MCO Cotai Investments Limited (formerly known as MCE Cotai Investments Limited), a subsidiary of Melco Resorts and a shareholder of our Company;

 

   

“Melco International” refers to Melco International Development Limited, a Hong Kong-listed company;

 

   

“Melco Resorts” refers to Melco Resorts & Entertainment Limited, a Cayman Islands company and with its American depositary shares listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market;

 

   

“Melco Resorts Macau” or the “Gaming Operator” refers to Melco Resorts (Macau) Limited, a company incorporated under the laws of Macau that is a subsidiary of Melco Resorts, the holder of a concession under the Concession Contract and the operator of Studio City Casino. The equity interest of the Gaming Operator is 85% owned by Melco Resorts and 15% owned by Mr. Lawrence Ho, the managing director of the Gaming Operator;

 

   

“MOP” or “Pataca(s)” refers to the legal currency of Macau;

 

   

“MSC Cotai” refers to our subsidiary, MSC Cotai Limited, which is a company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands with limited liability;

 

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“New Cotai” refers to New Cotai, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company;

 

   

“Renminbi” and “RMB” refer to the legal currency of the PRC;

 

   

“Studio City” refers to a cinematically-themed integrated resort in Cotai, an area of reclaimed land located between the islands of Taipa and Coloane in Macau;

 

   

“Studio City Casino” refers to the gaming areas being operated within Studio City;

 

   

“Studio City Casino Agreement” (previously referred to as the Services and Right to Use Arrangements) refers to the agreement entered into among Melco Resorts Macau and Studio City Entertainment, dated May 11, 2007 and amended on June 15, 2012 and June 23, 2022 and any other agreements or arrangements entered into from time to time, which may amend, supplement or relate to the aforementioned agreements or arrangements;

 

   

“Studio City Company” refers to our subsidiary, Studio City Company Limited, which is a company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands with limited liability;

 

   

“Studio City Developments” refers to our subsidiary, Studio City Developments Limited, a Macau company;

 

   

“Studio City Entertainment” refers to our subsidiary, Studio City Entertainment Limited, a Macau company;

 

   

“Studio City Finance” refers to our subsidiary, Studio City Finance Limited, which is a company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands with limited liability;

 

   

“Studio City Hotels” refers to our subsidiary, Studio City Hotels Limited, a Macau company;

 

   

“Studio City Investments” refers to our subsidiary, Studio City Investments Limited, which is a company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands with limited liability;

 

   

“US$” and “U.S. dollar(s)” refer to the legal currency of the United States;

 

   

“U.S. GAAP” refers to the U.S. generally accepted accounting principles; and

 

   

“we,” “us,” “our,” “our Company” and “the Company” refer to Studio City International Holdings Limited and, as the context requires, its predecessor entities and its consolidated subsidiaries.

This annual report on Form 20-F includes our audited consolidated financial statements for the years ended December 31, 2022, 2021 and 2020 and as of December 31, 2022 and 2021.

Any discrepancies in any table between totals and sums of amounts listed therein are due to rounding. Accordingly, figures shown as totals in certain tables may not be an arithmetic aggregation of the figures preceding them.

 

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GLOSSARY

 

“average daily rate” or “ADR”    calculated by dividing total room revenues including complimentary rooms (less service charges, if any) by total rooms occupied, including complimentary rooms, i.e., average price of occupied rooms per day
“cage”    a secure room within a casino with a facility that allows patrons to carry out transactions required to participate in gaming activities, such as exchange of cash for chips and exchange of chips for cash or other chips
“chip”    round token that is used on casino gaming tables in lieu of cash
“concession”    a government grant for the operation of games of fortune and chance in casinos in Macau under an administrative contract pursuant to which a concessionaire, or the entity holding the concession, is authorized to operate games of fortune and chance in casinos in Macau
“dealer”    a casino employee who takes and pays out wagers or otherwise oversees a gaming table
“drop”    the amount of cash to purchase gaming chips and promotional vouchers that is deposited in a gaming table’s drop box, plus gaming chips purchased at the casino cage
“drop box”    a box or container that serves as a repository for cash, chip purchase vouchers, credit markers and forms used to record movements in the chip inventory on each table game
“electronic gaming table”    table with an electronic or computerized wagering and payment system that allow players to place bets from multiple-player gaming seats
“gaming machine”    slot machine and/or electronic gaming table
“gaming machine handle”    the total amount wagered in gaming machines
“gaming machine win rate”    gaming machine win (calculated before non-discretionary incentives (including the point-loyalty programs) as administered by the Gaming Operator and allocating casino revenues related to goods and services provided to gaming patrons on a complimentary basis) expressed as a percentage of gaming machine handle
“gaming promoter”    an individual or corporate entity who, for the purpose of promoting rolling chip and other gaming activities, arranges customer transportation and accommodation, provides credit in its sole discretion if authorized by a gaming operator and arranges food and beverage services and entertainment in exchange for commissions or other compensation from a gaming concessionaire or subconcessionaire
“integrated resort”    a resort which provides customers with a combination of hotel accommodations, casinos or gaming areas, retail and dining facilities, MICE space, entertainment venues and spas
“junket player”    a player sourced by gaming promoters to play in the VIP gaming rooms or areas
“marker”    evidence of indebtedness by a player to the casino or gaming operator
“mass market patron”    a customer who plays in the mass market segment
“mass market segment”    consists of both table games and gaming machines played by mass market players primarily for cash stakes

 

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“mass market table games drop”    the amount of table games drop in the mass market table games segment
“mass market table games hold percentage”    mass market table games win (calculated before discounts, commissions, non-discretionary incentives (including the point-loyalty programs) as administered by the Gaming Operator and allocating casino revenues related to goods and services provided to gaming patrons on a complimentary basis) as a percentage of mass market table games drop
“mass market table games segment”    the mass market segment consisting of mass market patrons who play table games
“MICE”    Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions, an acronym commonly used to refer to tourism involving large groups brought together for an event or specific purpose
“net rolling”    net turnover in a non-negotiable chip game
“non-negotiable chip”    promotional casino chip that is not to be exchanged for cash
“non-rolling chip”    chip that can be exchanged for cash, used by mass market patrons to make wagers
“occupancy rate”    the average percentage of available hotel rooms occupied, including complimentary rooms, during a period
“premium direct player”    a rolling chip player who is a direct customer of the concessionaire and is attracted to the casino through marketing efforts of the gaming operator
“progressive jackpot”    a jackpot for a gaming machine or table game where the value of the jackpot increases as wagers are made; multiple gaming machines or table games may be linked together to establish one progressive jackpot
“revenue per available room” or “REVPAR”    calculated by dividing total room revenues including complimentary rooms (less service charges, if any) by total rooms available, thereby representing a combination of hotel average daily room rates and occupancy
“rolling chip” or “VIP rolling chip”    non-negotiable chip primarily used by rolling chip patrons to make wagers
“rolling chip patron”    a player who primarily plays on a rolling chip or VIP rolling chip tables and typically plays for higher stakes than mass market gaming patrons
“rolling chip segment”    consists of table games played in private VIP gaming rooms or areas by rolling chip patrons who are either premium direct players or junket players
“rolling chip volume”    the amount of non-negotiable chips wagered and lost by the rolling chip market segment
“rolling chip win rate”    rolling chip table games win (calculated before discounts, commissions, non-discretionary incentives (including the point-loyalty programs) as administered by the Gaming Operator and allocating casino revenues related to goods and services provided to gaming patrons on a complimentary basis) as a percentage of rolling chip volume
“slot machine”    traditional slot or electronic gaming machine operated by a single player
“subconcession”    an agreement for the operation of games of fortune and chance in casinos between the entity holding the concession, or the concessionaire, and a subconcessionaire, pursuant to which the subconcessionaire is authorized to operate games of fortune and chance in casinos in Macau

 

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“table games win”    the amount of wagers won net of wagers lost on gaming tables that is retained and recorded as casino revenues. Table games win is calculated before discounts, commissions, non-discretionary incentives (including the point-loyalty programs) as administered by the Gaming Operator and allocating casino revenues related to goods and services provided to gaming patrons on a complimentary basis
“VIP gaming room”    gaming rooms or areas that have restricted access to rolling chip patrons and typically offer more personalized service than the general mass market gaming areas

 

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SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This annual report on Form 20-F contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These forward-looking statements relate to future events, including our future operating results and conditions, our prospects and our future financial performance and condition, all of which are largely based on our current expectations and projections. Known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performances or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. See “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors” for a discussion of some risk factors that may affect our business and results of operations. Moreover, because we operate in a heavily regulated and evolving industry where the new gaming law was adopted and implemented by the Macau government, may become highly leveraged and operate in Macau, a market with intense competition, new risk factors may emerge from time to time. It is not possible for our management to predict all risk factors, nor can we assess the impact of these factors on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in any forward-looking statement.

In some cases, forward-looking statements can be identified by words or phrases such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “aim,” “estimate,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe,” “potential,” “continue,” “is/are likely to” or other similar expressions. We have based the forward-looking statements largely on our current expectations and projections about future events and financial trends that we believe may affect our financial condition, results of operations, business strategy and financial needs. These forward-looking statements include, among other things, statements relating to:

 

   

our goals and strategies;

 

   

the impact of the global COVID-19 outbreak on our business, financial results and liquidity, which could worsen and persist for an unknown duration;

 

   

the reduced access to our target markets due to travel restrictions, and the potential long-term impact on customer retention;

 

   

the expected growth of the gaming and leisure market in Macau and visitation in Macau;

 

   

restrictions or conditions on visitation by citizens of the PRC to Macau, including in connection with COVID-19, or the period of time required for tourism to return to pre-pandemic levels (if at all);

 

   

the impact on the travel and leisure industry from factors such as an outbreak of an infectious disease, such as COVID-19 outbreaks, extreme weather patterns or natural disasters, military conflicts and any future security alerts and/or terrorist attacks or other acts of violence;

 

   

general domestic or global political and economic conditions, including in the PRC and Hong Kong, which may impact levels of travel, leisure and consumer spending;

 

   

our ability to successfully operate Studio City;

 

   

our ability to obtain all required governmental approvals, authorizations and licenses for the Phase 2 project at Studio City;

 

   

our compliance with conditions and covenants under the existing and future indebtedness;

 

   

laws, rules and regulations which could bar the trading of the American depositary shares of our Company in the United States, such as the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act and the rules promulgated thereunder;

 

   

capital and credit market volatility;

 

   

our ability to raise additional capital, if and when required;

 

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increased competition from other casino hotel and resort projects in Macau and elsewhere in Asia, including the concessionaires in Macau;

 

   

government policies, laws and regulations relating to the leisure and gaming industry in Macau, including the implementation of the new gaming law, and the legalization of gaming in other jurisdictions;

 

   

the uncertainty of tourist behavior related to spending and vacationing at casino resorts in Macau;

 

   

fluctuations in occupancy rates and average daily room rates in Macau;

 

   

the liberalization of travel restrictions on PRC citizens and convertibility of the Renminbi;

 

   

the tightened control of certain cross-border fund transfers from the PRC;

 

   

significantly increased regulatory scrutiny on Macau gaming promoters’ operations that has resulted in the cessation of business by many gaming promoters in Macau;

 

   

the completion of infrastructure projects in Macau;

 

   

our ability to retain and gain new customers;

 

   

our ability to offer new services and attractions;

 

   

our future business development, financial condition and results of operations;

 

   

the expected growth, size of and trends in the market in Macau;

 

   

expected changes in our revenues, costs or expenditures;

 

   

our expectations regarding demand for and market acceptance of our brand and business;

 

   

our ability to continue to develop new technologies and/or upgrade our existing technologies;

 

   

cybersecurity risks including misappropriation of customer information or other breaches of information security;

 

   

our ability to protect our intellectual property rights;

 

   

growth of and trends of competition in the gaming and leisure market in Macau;

 

   

general economic and business conditions globally and in Macau;

 

   

our ability to comply with the New York Stock Exchange’s (“NYSE”) continued listing standards and maintain the listing of our ADSs on the New York Stock Exchange; and

 

   

other factors described under “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors.”

The forward-looking statements made in this annual report on Form 20-F relate only to events or information as of the date on which the statements are made in this annual report on Form 20-F. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date on which the statements are made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. You should read this annual report on Form 20-F and the documents that we referenced in this annual report on Form 20-F and have filed as exhibits with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC, completely and with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from what we expect.

EXCHANGE RATE INFORMATION

Our reporting currency is the U.S. dollar and functional currencies are the U.S. dollar, Hong Kong dollar and Pataca . This annual report on Form 20-F contains translations of certain Pataca, Hong Kong dollar and Renminbi amounts into U.S. dollars for the convenience of the reader. Unless otherwise stated, all translations of Hong Kong dollar and Renminbi amounts into U.S. dollars in this annual report on Form 20-F were made at the rates of HK$7.809510 to US$1.00 and RMB6.923625 to US$1.00, respectively.

 

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The H.K. dollar is freely convertible into other currencies (including the U.S. dollar). Since October 17, 1983, the H.K. dollar has been officially linked to the U.S. dollar at the rate of HK$7.80 to US$1.00. The market exchange rate has not deviated materially from the level of HK$7.80 to US$1.00 since the peg was first established. However, in May 2005, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority broadened the trading band from the original rate of HK$7.80 per U.S. dollar to a rate range of HK$7.75 to HK$7.85 per U.S. dollar. The Hong Kong government has stated its intention to maintain the link at that rate range and, acting through the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, has a number of means by which it may act to maintain exchange rate stability. However, no assurance can be given that the Hong Kong government will maintain the link at HK$7.75 to HK$7.85 per U.S. dollar or at all.

The Pataca is pegged to the H.K. dollar at a rate of HK$1.00 = MOP1.03. All translations from Patacas to U.S. dollars and Singapore dollars to U.S. dollars in this annual report on Form 20-F were made at the exchange rate of MOP8.043823 = US$1.00 and SGD1.339479 to US$1.00, respectively.

We make no representation that any Pataca, Hong Kong dollar, Renminbi, Singapore dollar or U.S. dollar amounts referred to in this annual report on Form 20-F could have been, or could be, converted into U.S. dollar, Pataca, Hong Kong dollar, Renminbi or Singapore dollar, as the case may be, at any particular rate or at all.

PART I

 

ITEM 1.

IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 2.

OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

Not applicable.

 

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ITEM 3.

KEY INFORMATION

A. [RESERVED]

B. CAPITALIZATION AND INDEBTEDNESS

Not applicable.

C. REASONS FOR THE OFFER AND USE OF PROCEEDS

Not applicable.

 

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D. RISK FACTORS

Studio City International Holdings Limited is a company incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands. All of our current operations, and administrative and corporate functions are conducted in Macau, Hong Kong and Singapore. We conduct our operations in Macau and we do not have any assets or operations in the PRC. Our principal executive offices are located in Singapore and Hong Kong. We have no variable interest entities in our corporate structure.

We face various legal and operational risks and uncertainties as a company operating in Macau. Since we derive all of our revenues from our Macau business and a significant number of our customers come from, and are expected to continue to come from, the PRC, our results of operations and financial condition may be materially and adversely affected by significant regulatory developments in the PRC. Actions by the PRC government can also significantly affect our business by, for example, placing limits on the ability of PRC residents to travel or remit currency outside of the PRC or by restricting gaming-related marketing activities in China. See “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Relating to Conducting Business and Operating in Macau —Policies, campaigns and measures adopted by the PRC and/or Macau governments from time to time could materially and adversely affect our operations.”

The PRC may also intervene or influence our operations in Macau, Hong Kong or elsewhere at any time, or may exert more control over offerings conducted overseas and/or foreign investment in issuers in China, which could result in a material change in our operations and/or the value of our ordinary shares. Additionally, given recent statements by the Chinese government indicating an intent to exert more oversight and control over offerings that are conducted overseas and/or foreign investment in China-based issuers, any such action could significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to offer or continue to offer securities to investors and cause the value of our securities to significantly decline or be worthless. There are risks and uncertainties which we cannot foresee for the time being, and rules and regulations in China can change quickly with little or no advance notice. See “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Relating to Conducting Business and Operating in Macau — Changes in law, regulations and policies in the PRC and uncertainties in the legal systems in the PRC may expose us to risks. In addition, rules and regulations in the PRC can change quickly with little advance notice” and “— The PRC government may influence our operations in Macau or elsewhere or intervene in our offerings conducted overseas or foreign investments in us. Its oversight and discretion over our business could result in material adverse changes in our operations and the value of our ordinary shares and ADSs.”

We also face risks associated with interpretations of or changes to gaming laws in Macau, including the interpretation of the recently amended gaming law in Macau, as well as the continued ability by the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, or PCAOB, to inspect our auditors.

Permissions, Approvals, Licenses, Certificates and Permits Required from the PRC, Hong Kong and Macau Authorities for Our Operations and for the Offering of Our Securities to Foreign Investors

As of the date of this annual report, we have obtained the requisite permissions, approvals, licenses, certificates and permits from the PRC, Hong Kong and Macau government authorities that are material for our business operations in those jurisdictions, and none have been denied. See “Item 4. Information on the Company — B. Business Overview — Regulations.”

Given the uncertainties of interpretation and implementation of relevant laws and regulations and enforcement practice by PRC government authorities, we may be required to obtain additional licenses, permits, filings or approvals for our business operations in the future, and may not be able to maintain or renew our current licenses, permits, filings or approvals. In addition, rules and regulations in China can change quickly with little advance notice. Uncertainties due to evolving laws and regulations could impede our ability to obtain or maintain certificates, permits or licenses required to conduct business in China. In the absence of required certificates, permits or licenses, governmental authorities could impose material sanctions or penalties on us.

 

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Furthermore, in connection with our issuance of securities to foreign investors, under current PRC laws, regulations and regulatory rules, as of the date of this annual report, we do not believe we are currently required to obtain permissions from or complete any filing with the China Securities Regulatory Commission, or CSRC, or required to go through cybersecurity review by the Cyberspace Administration of China, or CAC. In addition, we have not been asked to obtain such permissions by any PRC authority or received any denial to do so. However, the PRC government has recently indicated an intent to exert more oversight and control over offerings that are conducted overseas and/or foreign investment by issuers like us. There remains significant uncertainty as to the enactment, interpretation and implementation of regulatory requirements related to overseas securities offerings and other capital markets activities.

If (i) we inadvertently conclude that certain regulatory permissions and approvals are not required or (ii) applicable laws, regulations, or interpretations change in a way that requires us to complete such filings or obtain such approvals in the future, and (iii) we are required to obtain such permissions or approvals in the future, but fail to receive or maintain such permissions or approvals, we may face sanctions by the CSRC, the CAC or other PRC regulatory agencies. These regulatory agencies may impose fines and penalties on us, limit our operations, limit our ability to pay dividends outside of China, limit our ability to list on stock exchanges outside of China or offer our securities to foreign investors or take other actions that could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects, as well as the trading price of our securities.

Cash Flows Through Our Organization

Cash from financings and operations is primarily retained by our operating subsidiaries for the purposes of funding our operating activities and capital expenditures. Cash within our group is primarily transferred between our subsidiaries through intercompany loan arrangements. Financing raised by Studio City International Holdings Limited has been transferred to our financing and operating subsidiaries through the use of equity capital contributions or intercompany loan arrangements. In 2022, excluding cash transferred for the purpose of the settlement of intragroup charges, no cash has been transferred to our holding company, Studio City International Holdings Limited, from its subsidiaries. See also “Item 4. Information on the Company — B. Business Overview — Taxation” and “Item 8. Financial Information — A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information — Dividend Policy.” There are no regulatory or foreign exchange restrictions or limitations on our ability to transfer cash within our corporate group or to declare dividends to holders of our ADSs, except that our subsidiaries incorporated in Macau are required to set aside a specified amount of the entity’s profit after tax as a legal reserve which is not distributable to the shareholders of such subsidiaries. See “Item 4. Information on the Company — B. Business Overview — Regulations — Restrictions on Distribution of Profits Regulations” and “Item 10. Additional Information — D. Exchange Controls.”

We currently intend to retain most, if not all, of our available funds and any future earnings to fund the development and growth of our business. As a result, we do not expect to pay any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. See “Item 8. Financial Information — A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information — Dividend Policy” and note 17 to the consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this annual report.

You should carefully consider all of the information in this annual report before making an investment in the ADSs. The following summarizes some, but not all, of the risks provided below. Please carefully consider all of the information discussed in this Item 3.D. “Risk Factors” in this annual report for a more thorough description of these and other risks.

You should carefully consider the following risk factors in addition to the other information set forth in this annual report. Our business, financial condition and results of operations can be affected materially and adversely by any of the following risk factors.

 

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Risks Relating to Our Business

 

   

Risks relating to COVID-19 outbreaks and other epidemics and pandemics.

 

   

Risks relating to our reliance on the operation of the Studio City Casino under the Studio City Casino Agreement.

 

   

Risks relating to our short operating history.

 

   

Risks relating to our sole operation of Studio City.

 

   

Risks relating to our history of net losses.

 

   

Risks relating to finalizing the licensing procedures and opening up of our Phase 2 project for Studio City.

 

   

Risks relating to the inability to generate sufficient cash flow to meet our debt service obligations.

 

   

Risks relating to our compliance with credit facility and debt instruments.

 

   

Risks relating to our current and potential future indebtedness and our need for additional financing.

 

   

Risks relating to depending on the continued efforts or our senior management and retaining qualified personnel.

 

   

Risks relating to failure to comply with anti-corruption laws and anti-money laundering policies.

 

   

Risks relating to failure to protect the integrity and security of data, including customer information.

 

   

Risks relating to being based in or having all of our operations in Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau, uncertainties in the legal systems in the PRC, and policies, campaigns and measures adopted by the PRC and/or Macau governments from time to time.

 

   

Risks relating to inadequate insurance coverage.

Risks Relating to Operating in the Gaming Industry in Macau

 

   

Risks relating to the Gaming Operator’s Concession Contract.

 

   

Risks relating to facing intense competition.

 

   

Risks relating to interpretation of the newly adopted gaming law in Macau and its implementation by the Macau government.

 

   

Risks relating to adverse changes or developments in gaming laws or regulations in Macau.

Risks Relating to Our Relationship with Melco Resorts

 

   

Risks relating to our dependence on our shareholder, Melco Resorts.

Risks Relating to Conducting Business and Operating in Macau

 

   

Risks relating to restrictions on export of Renminbi.

Risks Relating to Our Shares and ADSs

 

   

Risks relating to compliance with the New York Stock Exchange requirements for continued listing.

 

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Risks Relating to Our Business

COVID-19 outbreaks have had an adverse effect on our operations, which has had a significant negative effect over the past three years and may continue to materially impact our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

Uncertainty around COVID-19 outbreaks and related restrictions continue to have a material effect on our operations, financial position, and future prospects. In addition, the COVID-19 outbreak’s negative impact on the global economy, disruption to global supply chains and creation of significant volatility and disruption of financial markets is still being experienced.

While pandemic prevention measures in Macau were eased in 2021, in response to a COVID-19 outbreak in Macau, on June 23, 2022, the Macau government issued a closure order for certain entertainment venues which did not include casinos. Effective from July 11, 2022, however, the Macau government issued a further order whereby from July 11 until July 18, 2022, all entities performing industrial and commercial activities, including gaming activities, were required to suspend operation, except for those in categories of activity deemed essential to the community and to the day-to-day lives of the members of the public. These restrictions were further extended until July 23, 2022 and, as a result, the Studio City Casino was closed for a total of 12 days in 2022. The Macau government continued to implement special prevention measures on operations until August 2, 2022, including the closure of certain outlets and limitations to capacity of operating outlets.

According to the DSEC, visitor arrivals to Macau decreased by 26.0% on a year-over-year basis in 2022 as compared to 2021 while, according to the DICJ, gross gaming revenues in Macau declined by 51.4% on a year-over-year basis in 2022. As we derive all of our revenues from our business and operations in Macau, our business has been materially and adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While quarantine-free travel within Greater China has resumed and pandemic measures have eased significantly, the pace of our business recovery from COVID-19 is highly uncertain and will depend on the extent of any future COVID-19 outbreaks and government responses to such outbreaks, the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, including against any new strains of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the impact of potentially higher unemployment rates, declines in income levels and loss of personal wealth resulting from COVID-19 outbreaks. Moreover, even if COVID-19 outbreaks subside, there is no guarantee that travel and consumer sentiment will rebound quickly or at all. In addition, although travel restrictions have eased in Macau, we cannot be certain whether authorities in these jurisdictions, or the jurisdictions where many of our customers reside, will reintroduce any of the previously imposed restrictions or any new restrictions in response to COVID-19 or other health emergencies.

The COVID-19 outbreak has also caused severe disruptions to the businesses of our tenants and other business partners, which has increased the risk of them defaulting on their contractual obligations with us, which may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations, including causing increases in our bad debts.

The disruptions to our business caused by COVID-19 outbreaks have had an adverse effect on our operations. For the years ended December 31, 2022, 2021 and 2020, our total operating revenues generated amounted to US$11.5 million, US$106.9 million and US$49.2 million, respectively.

Lower operating revenues since 2020 were mainly due to the effects of COVID-19. As such disruptions remain, they could materially impact our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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Because neither we nor any of our subsidiaries hold a gaming license in Macau, Studio City Casino is operated by the Gaming Operator through the Studio City Casino Agreement under the Gaming Operator’s concession. Any failure by the Gaming Operator to comply with its obligations as a concessionaire or any failure by the Gaming Operator or us to comply with its or our respective obligations under the Studio City Casino Agreement, including any regulatory requirements thereunder, may have a material adverse effect on the operation of the Studio City Casino.

The Gaming Operator and our subsidiary, Studio City Entertainment, have entered into the Studio City Casino Agreement under which the Gaming Operator has agreed to operate Studio City Casino since we do not hold a gaming license in Macau. Under the Studio City Casino Agreement, the Gaming Operator, among other things, manages the day-to-day operations at the Studio City Casino, including determining the number and mix of gaming tables and gaming machines operated at the Studio City Casino, and recruits all casino staff, including dealers, cashiers, security and surveillance personnel and managers. The Gaming Operator deducts gaming taxes and the costs incurred in connection with its on-going operations from Studio City Casino’s gross gaming revenues and we receive the residual amount and recognize such residual amount as revenue from the Studio City Casino Agreement. While the Studio City Casino Agreement obligates the Gaming Operator to manage the day-to-day operations of the Studio City Casino in a manner intended to appeal to the VIP and mass gaming markets at a standard of quality of service set by the Gaming Operator in line with the overall development and operational strategy determined by the Company, the Studio City Casino Agreement does not require the Gaming Operator to operate a minimum number of gaming tables or gaming machines at the Studio City Casino or any specified mix of gaming tables and gaming machines. Accordingly, while 250 gaming tables, including 15 gaming tables for VIP rolling chip operations, and 552 gaming machines are currently available for operation at the Studio City Casino, there is no assurance that such number and mix of gaming tables and gaming machines will be maintained by the Gaming Operator and the number of gaming tables and/or gaming machines may be reduced or increased by the Gaming Operator as it may determine pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Studio City Casino Agreement.

The Studio City Casino Agreement was initially approved by the Macau government and was subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions imposed by the Macau government on the Gaming Operator and us in connection with granting its approval. Such conditions included but were not limited to Studio City Entertainment being subject to Macau government supervision applicable to gaming concessionaires. Upon the execution of the amendment to the Studio City Casino Agreement on June 23, 2022, such conditions ceased to apply. As a substantial part of our revenues and cash flows are generated from the Gaming Operator’s operation of Studio City Casino, any failure by the Gaming Operator to comply with any statutory, contractual or any other duties imposed on it as a concessionaire, or any failure by the Gaming Operator or us to comply with its or our respective obligations under the Studio City Casino Agreement may have a material adverse effect on the operation of Studio City Casino including its suspension or cessation, and may cause the suspension or termination of the Gaming Operator’s concession.

Any changes in Macau’s gaming law or other requirements applicable to the concession granted to the Gaming Operator by the Macau government that necessitate amendments to, or termination of, the Studio City Casino Agreement, would have a material adverse effect on the operation of the Studio City Casino and, in turn, our financial condition and results of operations. If the Studio City Casino Agreement terminates, we may not be able to enter into a new similar agreement. In addition, any amended or replaced terms of the Studio City Casino Agreement may not be comparable to our current arrangements and may not be, totally or partially, acceptable to us. In addition, if the Gaming Operator’s concession terminates, the Gaming Operator will discontinue operating the Studio City Casino and the Studio City Casino Agreement will terminate and we may not be able to enter into an arrangement for the operation of Studio City Casino with another concessionaire on terms that are comparable or acceptable to us or at all, and the Studio City Casino premises and gaming equipment will revert or be transferred to the Macau government without compensation. Furthermore, the Gaming Operator has exclusive access to the customer database of the gaming operations at Studio City Casino and in the event of termination of the arrangement under the Studio City Casino Agreement, we may not be able to gain access to such database.

 

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Any material dispute with the Gaming Operator or any failure by the Gaming Operator to comply with its obligations under its concession, or by the Gaming Operator or us to comply with its or our respective obligations under, or any termination of, the Studio City Casino Agreement may have a material adverse effect on the operation of Studio City Casino and in turn affect our financial condition and results of operations and may also result in a default under the terms of our existing and/or future indebtedness obligations and other agreements.

We have a short operating history compared to many of our competitors and are therefore subject to significant risks and uncertainties. Our short operating history may not be indicative of our future operating results and prospects.

We have a short business operating history compared to many of our competitors, and there is limited historical information available about us upon which you can base your evaluation of our business and prospects. Studio City commenced operations in October 2015 and the first stage of Phase 2 is expected to commence operations in the second quarter of 2023. As a result, you should consider our business and prospects in light of the risks, expenses, uncertainties and challenges that we may face given our short operating history in the intensely competitive market of the gaming business. The historical performance at the other casinos operated by the Gaming Operator should not be taken as an indication of Studio City Casino’s future performance or the performance of our Phase 2 project once it commences operations.

We may encounter risks and difficulties frequently experienced by companies with early stage operations, and those risks and difficulties may be heightened by challenging market conditions of the gaming business in Macau and other challenges our business faces. Certain of these risks relate to our ability to:

 

   

operate, support, expand and develop our operations and our facilities, including opening Phase 2 of Studio City;

 

   

respond to economic uncertainties, including the social and economic disruptions caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic;

 

   

respond to competitive market conditions;

 

   

fulfill conditions precedent to draw down or roll over funds from current and future credit facilities;

 

   

comply with covenants under our existing and future debt issuances and credit facilities;

 

   

respond to changing financial requirements and raise additional capital, as required;

 

   

obtain the necessary authorizations, approvals and licenses from the relevant governmental authorities for our Phase 2 project for Studio City;

 

   

attract and retain customers and qualified staff;

 

   

maintain effective control of our operating costs and expenses;

 

   

maintain internal personnel, systems, controls and procedures to assure compliance with the extensive regulatory requirements applicable to our business as well as regulatory compliance as a public company; and

 

   

assure compliance with, and respond to changes in, the regulatory environment and government policies.

If we are unable to successfully manage one or more of such risks, we may be unable to operate our businesses in the manner we contemplate and generate revenues in the amounts and at the rate we anticipate. If any of these events were to occur, it may have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

 

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We rely on services provided by subsidiaries of Melco Resorts, including hiring and training of personnel for Studio City.

According to the Studio City Casino Agreement, the Gaming Operator, a subsidiary of Melco Resorts, is responsible for the operation of the Studio City Casino facilities, including hiring, employing, training and supervising casino personnel. The Gaming Operator deducts gaming taxes and the costs incurred in connection with its on-going operations, including staff costs from Studio City Casino’s gross gaming revenues. We expect the Gaming Operator to continue managing all recruitment and training-related matters for staff that have been deployed at Studio City Casino.

In addition, under the Management and Shared Services Arrangements, we receive certain services from certain members of the Melco Resorts group. We rely on the Master Service Providers to recruit, allocate, train, manage and supervise a substantial majority of the staff who are all solely dedicated to our property to perform our corporate and administrative functions and carry out other non-gaming activities, including food and beverage management, retail management, hotel management, entertainment projects, mall development and sales and marketing activities, among others. In addition, pursuant to the Management and Shared Services Arrangements, certain shared services staff including certain senior management from the Master Service Providers are not solely dedicated to our property and may not devote all of their time and attention to the operation of Studio City. These shared services staff work for other properties owned by Melco Resorts, which may directly and indirectly compete with us. Any expansion of the business of Melco Resorts, whether effectuated through the Gaming Operator or other companies, could divert the attention and time of these shared services staff from the operations of Studio City and adversely affect us.

With the easing of COVID-19 travel restrictions in Macau and the increase in business volumes, Studio City will need more personnel to operate at full capacity as well as the opening of the Phase 2 project, with a significant portion of these vacancies expected to be filled by non-resident workers for which Macau government-issued quotas are required. If the Gaming Operator or the Master Service Providers are unable to attract and retain a sufficient number of qualified staff or to provide satisfactory services to us or the costs of qualified staff increase significantly, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

The costs associated with the Studio City Casino Agreement and the Management and Shared Services Arrangements may not be indicative of the actual costs we could have incurred as an independent company.

Under the Studio City Casino Agreement, the Gaming Operator deducts gaming taxes and the costs of operation of Studio City Casino. We receive the residual gross gaming revenues and recognize these amounts as our revenue from casino contract.

Under the Management and Shared Services Arrangements, certain of our corporate and administrative functions as well as operational activities are administered by staff employed by certain subsidiaries of Melco Resorts, including senior management services, centralized corporate functions and operational and venue support services. Payment arrangements for the services are provided for in the individual work agreements and may vary depending on the services provided. Corporate services are charged at pre-negotiated rates, subject to a base fee and cap. Senior management service fees and staff costs on operational services are allocated to us based on percentages of efforts on the services provided to us. Other costs in relation to shared office equipment are allocated based on a percentage of usage.

We believe the costs incurred under the Studio City Casino Agreement and the allocation methods under the Management and Shared Services Arrangements are reasonable and the consolidated financial statements reflect our cost of doing business. However, such allocations may not be indicative of the actual expenses we would have incurred had we operated as an independent company.

 

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We face concentration risk in relation to our sole operation of Studio City.

We are dependent upon the operation of Studio City to generate our revenue and cash flows. Given that our operations are conducted only at Studio City in Macau, we are subject to greater risks than a company with several operating properties in several markets. These risks include, but are not limited to:

 

   

changes in Macau governmental laws and regulations, including gaming laws and regulations, or interpretations thereof, as well as PRC travel and visa policies;

 

   

dependence on the gaming, tourism and leisure market in Macau;

 

   

limited diversification of our business and sources of revenue;

 

   

a decline in air, land or ferry passenger traffic to Macau from the PRC or other areas or countries due to higher ticket costs, fears concerning travel, travel restrictions or otherwise, including as a result of the outbreak of widespread health epidemics or pandemics, such as the outbreak of COVID-19, or any social unrest in Hong Kong;

 

   

a decline in economic and political conditions in Macau, the PRC or Asia, or an increase in competition within the gaming industry in Macau or generally in Asia;

 

   

inaccessibility to Macau due to inclement weather, road construction or closure of primary access routes;

 

   

austerity measures imposed now or in the future by the governments in the PRC or other countries in Asia;

 

   

tightened control of cross-border fund transfers, foreign exchange and/or anti-money laundering regulations or policies effected by the PRC or Macau governments;

 

   

any enforcement or legal measures taken by the PRC government to deter gaming activities and/or marketing thereof;

 

   

lower than expected rate of increase or decrease in the number of visitors to Macau;

 

   

natural and other disasters, including typhoons, outbreaks of infectious diseases, terrorism or violent criminal activities, affecting Macau;

 

   

relaxation of regulations on gaming laws in other regional economies that could compete with the Macau market;

 

   

government restrictions on growth of gaming markets, including policies on gaming table allocation and caps; and

 

   

a decrease in gaming activities and other spending at Studio City Casino.

Any of these developments or events could have a material adverse effect on our business, cash flows, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

Furthermore, Macau is a limited gaming concession market nearing its land capacity for the development of integrated resorts and there are no opportunities to expand our operations.

Studio City Casino’s VIP rolling chip operations may cause volatility in our financial condition and results of operations due to changes in the economic and regulatory environments and Studio City Casino’s ability to attract and retain VIP rolling chip players.

Studio City Casino has and is expected to incur costs associated with the VIP rolling chip operations, while the expected revenues to be generated from the VIP rolling chip operations may be volatile primarily due to high bets and the resulting high winnings and losses. Gross win per VIP table per day were approximately

 

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US$2,000, US$2,400 and US$3,700 in 2022, 2021 and 2020, respectively. VIP rolling chip operations are also more vulnerable to changes in the economic environment and therefore inherently more volatile than mass market operations. Moreover, VIP rolling chip operations may involve commissions to gaming promoters, if any are engaged to provide services to Studio City Casino, and, as a result, the margins associated with VIP rolling chip operations are usually lower than the margins for the mass market operations and may be volatile from period to period due to significant variances in winnings and losses. As a result, Studio City Casino’s business, results of operations and cash flows may become more volatile, while VIP rolling chip operations continue, compared to that of other casinos with only mass market gaming operations.

Further, the VIP rolling chip players pool is limited and we cannot assure you that the existing VIP rolling chip players at Studio City Casino will be recurring players. If Studio City Casino loses its existing VIP rolling chip players or fails to attract new VIP rolling chip players, our revenues and cash flows from the revenue from casino contract could be materially and adversely affected. In addition, the VIP rolling chip segment may be particularly susceptible to certain changes in government policies, regulations and enforcement actions. For instance, the anti-corruption campaign of the PRC government has had a negative effect on the VIP rolling chip segment in Macau. In addition, in November 2021, the Court of Final Appeal in Macau issued a final unappealable decision that a gaming operator is jointly liable with a gaming promoter for the refund of funds deposited with such gaming promoter and the Macau authorities arrested executives from a gaming promoter for alleged illegal overseas gaming related activities. In January 2022, the Macau authorities also arrested an executive from another gaming promoter and certain related individuals and certain of these individuals were sentenced to jail terms in addition to the payment of monetary compensation to the Macau government in January 2023. Any further changes in government policies, regulations and enforcement actions may negatively affect the numbers of VIP rolling chip players in Macau and in turn, may materially and adversely affect our business.

We have a history of net losses and may not achieve profitability in the future.

Studio City may not be financially successful or generate the cash flows that we anticipate. We generated net income attributable to Studio City International Holdings Limited of US$33.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 while we had net losses attributable to Studio City International Holdings Limited of US$326.5 million, US$252.6 million, US$321.6 million, US$21.6 million, US$76.4 million and US$242.8 million for the years ended December 31, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively, primarily because of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreaks in the case of the years ended December 31, 2022, 2021 and 2020 and also due to Studio City having commenced operations only in October 2015 and was ramping up operations. In addition, we incurred negative operating cash flows of US$178.8 million, US$136.8 million, US$167.4 million and US$113.1 million in 2022, 2021, 2020 and 2015, respectively.

We expect our costs and expenses to increase in absolute amounts due to the continued expansion of our operations, including in relation to the opening of Phase 2 of Studio City, which will cause us to incur increased costs and expenses associated with the operation of our businesses.

We also expect that we will continue to incur capital expenditures as we continue to expand our existing operations and open our Phase 2 project. These efforts may be more costly than we expect and our revenue may not increase sufficiently to offset these expenses. We may continue to take actions and make investments that do not generate optimal short-term financial results and may even result in increased operating losses in the short term with no assurance that we will eventually achieve the intended long-term benefits or profitability. These factors may adversely affect our ability to achieve profitability and service debt obligations and interest payments under any of our existing or future financing facilities.

 

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We have a substantial amount of existing indebtedness and may incur additional indebtedness, which could have significant effects on our business and future operations.

We have a substantial amount of existing indebtedness. As of December 31, 2022, we had total principal amount of outstanding indebtedness of US$2.45 billion, representing the outstanding principal balances of our existing notes and credit facility. See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects — B. Liquidity and Capital Resources — Indebtedness.” Significant interest and principal payments are required to meet our obligations under the existing indebtedness. This substantial indebtedness could have important consequences for you and significant effects on our business and future operations. For example:

 

   

if Studio City is not operating with certain minimum requirements as specified in the 2028 Studio City Senior Secured Credit Facility, or if we fail to meet our payment obligations or otherwise default under the agreements governing our existing indebtedness, including due to any termination or any substantial or adverse amendment of the terms of the Studio City Casino Agreement, the applicable lenders or note holders under our indebtedness will have the right to accelerate such indebtedness and exercise other rights and remedies against us;

 

   

we may be limited in our ability to obtain additional financing, if needed, to fund our working capital requirements, capital expenditures, debt service, general corporate or other obligations, including our obligations with respect to the existing indebtedness;

 

   

we are required to use all or a substantial portion of our cash flow from operations of Studio City to service our indebtedness, which will reduce the available cash flow to fund our operations, capital expenditures and other general corporate purposes;

 

   

we may be limited in our ability to respond to changing business and economic conditions, including regulatory changes, and to withstand competitive pressures, which may affect our financial condition;

 

   

under certain existing indebtedness, the interest rates we pay in respect of the indebtedness which we are not required to hedge will fluctuate with the current market rates and, accordingly, our interest expense will increase if market interest rates increase;

 

   

we may be placed at a competitive disadvantage to our competitors who are not as highly leveraged; and

 

   

in the event that we or one of our subsidiaries were to default, it may result in the loss of all or a substantial portion of our and/or our subsidiaries’ assets over which our creditors have taken or will take security.

Under the terms of the indentures governing our existing indebtedness, we will be permitted to incur additional indebtedness if certain conditions are met, some of which may be senior secured indebtedness. If we incur additional indebtedness, certain risks described above will be exacerbated.

If we are unable to comply with our existing and/or future indebtedness obligations and other agreements, including due to any termination or any substantial or adverse amendment to the terms of the Studio City Casino Agreement, there could be a default under those agreements. If that occurs, lenders could terminate their respective commitments to lend to us or terminate their respective agreements, and holders of our debt securities could accelerate repayment of debt and declare all outstanding amounts due and payable, as the case may be. Furthermore, existing agreements governing our indebtedness contain, and future agreements governing our indebtedness are likely to contain, cross-acceleration or cross-default provisions. As a result, our default under any such agreement may cause the acceleration of repayment of other indebtedness or result in a default under agreements governing our other indebtedness. If any of these events occur, our assets and cash flows may not be sufficient to repay in full all of our indebtedness and we may not be able to find alternative financing. Even if we are able to obtain alternative financing, it may not be on terms that are comparable or acceptable to us.

 

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Certain covenants under our agreements governing our existing indebtedness restrict our ability to engage in certain transactions and may impair our ability to respond to changing business and economic conditions.

Certain covenants under our agreements governing our existing indebtedness impose operating and financial restrictions on us. The restrictions that are imposed under these debt instruments include, among other things, limitations on our ability to do some or all of the following:

 

   

pay dividends or distributions on account of our equity interests;

 

   

make specified restricted payments;

 

   

incur additional debt;

 

   

engage in other businesses or make investments;

 

   

create liens on assets;

 

   

enter into transactions with affiliates;

 

   

merge or consolidate with another company;

 

   

transfer and sell assets;

 

   

issue preferred stock;

 

   

create dividend and other payment restrictions affecting subsidiaries; and

 

   

designate restricted and unrestricted subsidiaries.

Certain of our indebtedness is secured by mortgages, assignment of land use rights, leases or equivalents, security over shares, charges over bank accounts, security over assets and other customary security over the assets of our subsidiaries. In the event of a default under such agreements governing our existing indebtedness, the holders of such secured indebtedness would first be entitled to payment from their collateral security and only then would holders of certain of our subsidiaries’ unsecured debt be entitled to payment from their remaining assets.

As a result of these covenants and restrictions, we will be limited in how we conduct our business, and we may be unable to raise additional financing to compete effectively or to take advantage of new business opportunities. Future indebtedness or other contracts could contain financial or other covenants more restrictive than those contained in the agreements governing the existing indebtedness. In addition, general economic conditions, industry conditions and other events beyond our control may also affect our ability to comply with these provisions. If we fail to abide by such covenants, we may be unable to maintain our current financing arrangements, obtain suitable future financings or avoid an event of default which may adversely impact our cash flows, existing operations and future development.

We generate a portion of our revenues from, and are subject to risks in operating, non-gaming offerings.

We generate a portion of our revenues from non-gaming offerings and our financial performance in part depends on our ability to attract new and repeat customers to the non-gaming facilities at Studio City. Both visitation and the level of spending at our themed attractions, hotel, retail shops, restaurants and other leisure and entertainment facilities are key drivers of revenues and profitability, and reductions in either could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, results of operations and cash flows. We do not have a long track record in operating these non-gaming facilities and may not be able to attract new and recurring customers to our non-gaming facilities at Studio City. Our success in non-gaming offerings depends on, among others, the effectiveness of our advertising and marketing initiatives, the attractiveness and safety of our entertainment facilities as compared to other resorts in Macau, the compliance with legal and regulatory requirements for our retail, entertainment and food and beverage outlets and our continued cooperation with the popular retail brands and restaurants. Moreover, many of our attractions which draw in large numbers of visitors, such as the Golden

 

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Reel may become obsolete in terms of technology or otherwise fail to continue to attract sufficient number of visitors. We cannot assure you that we will be financially successful in our non-gaming offerings or be able to maintain the average daily rate, occupancy rate and REVPAR of Studio City hotel or visitation to Studio City in general, which may adversely affect our ability to generate the cash flows that we anticipate and impact our operations and financial condition.

Studio City Casino’s gaming operations could be impacted by the reputation and integrity of the parties engaged in business activities at Studio City Casino and we cannot assure you that these parties will always maintain high standards of conduct or suitability throughout the term of Studio City Casino’s association with them. Failure to do so may potentially cause the Gaming Operator, us and our shareholders to suffer harm to our and our shareholders’ reputation, as well as impaired relationships with, and possibly sanctions from, gaming regulators.

The reputation and integrity of the parties who are or will be engaged in gaming activities at Studio City Casino are important to the continued operations of the casino in compliance with Gaming Operator’s concession and our own reputation. For parties that engage in gaming related activities, where relevant, the gaming regulators are expected to undertake their own probity checks and will reach their own suitability findings in respect of the activities and parties with which Studio City Casino may be associated. In addition, we conduct, and we expect that the Gaming Operator will conduct, an internal due diligence and evaluation process prior to the engagement of such parties. However, notwithstanding such regulatory probity checks, the Gaming Operator’s due diligence and our own due diligence, we cannot assure you that the parties with whom Studio City Casino is or will be associated will always maintain the high standards that gaming regulators, the Gaming Operator and we require or that such parties will maintain their suitability throughout the term of Studio City Casino’s association with them. If Studio City Casino were to be associated with any party whose probity was in doubt, this may reflect negatively on the Gaming Operator. A party associated with Studio City Casino may fall below the gaming regulators’ suitability standards.

In particular, the reputation of the gaming promoters that may operate in Studio City Casino from time to time is important to the Gaming Operator’s ability to continue to operate in compliance with its concession and our own reputation. While we expect that the Gaming Operator endeavors to ensure high standards of probity and integrity in any such gaming promoters, we cannot assure you that such gaming promoters will always maintain such high standards. In addition, if the probity of any gaming promoter associated with Studio City Casino was in doubt or such promoter failed to operate in compliance with Macau laws consistently, this may be considered by regulators or investors to reflect negatively on the Gaming Operator’s probity and compliance records. Such a gaming promoter may fall below the Gaming Operator’s or our standards of probity, integrity and legal compliance. There can also be no assurance that any allegation against, or negative publicity relating to, the gaming promoters operating in Studio City Casino from time to time or the Gaming Operator’s or our standards of probity, integrity and legal compliance will not have a material adverse impact on our reputation and business operations.

If any of the above were to occur, we, the Gaming Operator and our shareholders may suffer harm to our, the Gaming Operator’s and our shareholders’ reputation, as well as impaired relationships with, and possibly sanctions from, gaming regulators with authority over operations.

As of March 30, 2023, we are finalizing the licensing procedures for the Phase 2 project for Studio City under the terms of a land concession which currently requires us to fully develop the land on which Studio City is located by June 30, 2023. Any extension of the development period is subject to Macau government review and approval at its discretion. In the event of any failure to complete certain licensing procedures by June 30, 2023, we could be forced to forfeit all or part of our investment in Studio City, along with our interest in the land on which Studio City is located and the building and structures on such land.

Land concessions in Macau are issued by the Macau government and generally have terms of 25 years and are renewable for further consecutive periods of ten years. Land concessions further stipulate a period within

 

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which the development of the land must be completed. The land on which Studio City is located must be fully developed by June 30, 2023, including obtaining the necessary permits, authorizations, approvals and licenses from the relevant governmental authorities.

While we opened Studio City in October 2015 and the construction of Phase 2 has been completed, as of March 30, 2023, the licensing procedures for the Phase 2 project of Studio City are still ongoing. There is no guarantee that we will obtain the required regulatory approvals by the deadline. Any further extension under the land concession is subject to Macau government review and approval at its discretion. While the Macau government may grant extensions if we meet certain legal requirements, there can be no assurance that the Macau government will grant us any further extension of the development period or not exercise its rights to terminate the Studio City land concession. In the event that no further extension is granted or the Studio City land concession is terminated, we could lose all or substantially all of our investment in Studio City, including our interest in the land and building and may not be able to continue to operate Studio City as planned, which will materially and adversely affect our business and prospects, results of operations and financial condition.

We may not be able to obtain adequate financing on satisfactory terms for our existing business, or at all.

In the past, we have funded our capital investment projects primarily through credit facilities, issuance of debt securities and other debt and equity financings. We may require additional funding in the future for our existing business, which may be substantial and which we may raise through a combination of credit, debt and equity financings. We may be required to seek the approval or consent of or notify the relevant government authorities or third parties in order to obtain such financings. We cannot assure you that we would be able to obtain such required approval or consent from the relevant government authorities or third parties with respect to such financing in a timely manner or at all.

Any financing will also be subject to, among others, the terms of our existing and any future financings. In addition, our ability to obtain credit, debt or equity financing on acceptable terms depends on a variety of factors that are beyond our control, including market conditions such as the economic disruptions caused by the effect of the large-scale global COVID-19 outbreak, investors’ and lenders’ perceptions of, and demand for, bond, bank and equity securities of gaming companies and interest rates. For example, changes in ratings outlooks may subject us to ratings agency downgrades, which could make it more difficult for us to obtain financing on acceptable terms. S&P placed Studio City Company on credit watch negative in February 2020, revised the outlook to negative in September 2020 and subsequently downgraded Studio City Company to B+ in October 2021. We are currently rated B1 by Moody’s and B+ by S&P, with negative outlooks by both rating agencies. Central banks across the world have been increasing interest rates at an accelerated pace in 2022 which in turn could increase our borrowing costs. The sell-off in Chinese property bonds in 2022 also negatively impacted the market for high yield bonds of issuers in other sectors connected with the PRC, including those issued by Macau gaming operators and associated entities. As a result, we cannot assure you that we will be able to obtain sufficient funding on terms satisfactory to us, or at all, to finance our existing business. If we are unable to obtain such funding, our business, cash flow, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could be materially and adversely affected. We may, from time to time, seek to obtain new financings or refinance our outstanding debt through the international markets. Any such financing or refinancing, and our evaluation thereof, will depend on the prevailing market conditions, our liquidity requirements, contractual restrictions and other factors. The amounts involved may be material.

Our results of operations are subject to seasonality and other fluctuations.

We are subject to seasonality and other fluctuations in our business. Our revenue is also largely affected by promotional and marketing activities and revenue may increase as a result of these activities. Launch of new promotions or the timing of such promotions may further cause our quarterly results to fluctuate and differ from historical patterns. Our results of operations will likely fluctuate due to these and other factors, some of which are beyond our control, including but not limited to: (i) fluctuations in overall consumer demand for

 

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gaming and hospitality, leisure and resort during certain months and holidays; (ii) introduction of new policies or regulatory measures; and (iii) macro-economic conditions and their effect on discretionary consumer spending. Because of these and other factors as well as the short operating history of our business, it is difficult for us to accurately identify recurring seasonal trends in our business. In addition, our rapid growth has masked certain fluctuations that might otherwise be apparent in our results of operations. When our growth stabilizes, the seasonality in our business may become more pronounced. If we fail to accurately identify the seasonal trends in our business and match our customer services and supplies in an effective manner, it may have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

Macau’s infrastructure may not adequately support the development of Macau’s gaming and leisure industry, which may adversely affect our expected performance.

Macau consists of a peninsula and two islands and is connected to the PRC by five border crossings. Macau has an international airport and connections to the PRC and Hong Kong by road and ferry. To support Macau’s planned future development as a gaming and leisure destination, the frequency of bus, car, air and ferry services to Macau will need to increase. While various projects are under development to improve Macau’s internal and external transportation links, including the expansion of the Macau Light Rapid Transit and capacity expansion of border crossings, these projects may not be approved, financed or constructed in time to handle the projected increase in demand for transportation or at all, which could impede the expected increase in visitation to Macau and adversely affect Studio City. Any further delays or termination of Macau’s transportation infrastructure projects may have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

Furthermore, the expected benefits from the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, which opened to traffic on October 23, 2018, may not fully materialize, and may not result in significantly increased traffic to Macau and to Studio City.

Health and safety or food safety incidents at Studio City may lead to reputational damage and financial exposures.

We provide goods and services to a significant number of customers on a daily basis at Studio City. In particular, with the number of attractions, entertainment and food and beverage offerings in Studio City, there are risks of health and safety incidents, personal injury or adverse food safety events, such as food poisoning, physical trauma, slip and fall accidents or surges in crowd flow at popular ingress and egress points. While we have a number of measures and controls in place aimed at managing such risks, we cannot guarantee that our insurance is adequate to cover all losses, which may result in us incurring additional costs or damages, and negatively impact our financial performance. Such incidents may also lead to reduced customer flow and reputational damage to Studio City.

Our information technology and other systems are subject to cybersecurity risks, including misappropriation of customer information, other breaches of information security or other cybercrimes, as well as regulatory and other risks.

We rely on information technology and other systems (including those maintained by third-parties with whom we contract to provide data services) to maintain and transmit large volumes of customer information, credit card settlements, credit card funds transmissions, mailing lists and reservations information and other personally identifiable information. We also maintain important internal company data such as personally identifiable information about our staff and information relating to our operations. The systems and processes we have implemented to protect customers, staff and company information are subject to the rapidly changing risks of compromised security and may therefore become outdated. Despite our preventive efforts, we are subject to the risks of compromised security, including cyber and physical security breaches, system failures, computer viruses, technical malfunctions, inadequate system capacities, power outages, natural disasters and inadvertent,

 

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negligent or intentional misuses, disclosure or dissemination of information or data by customers, company staff or employees of third-party vendors, ransomware attacks that encrypt, exfiltrate or otherwise render data unusable or unavailable or other forms of cybercrimes that include fraud or extortion. These risks can also be manifested in a variety of other ways, including through methods which may not yet be known to the cybersecurity community, and have become increasingly difficult to anticipate and prevent.

The steps we take to deter and mitigate these risks may not be successful or effective and our insurance coverage for protecting against cybersecurity risks may not be sufficient. Our third-party information system service providers face risks relating to cyber security similar to ours, and we do not directly control any of such service providers’ information security operations. A significant theft, loss or fraudulent use of customer or company data maintained by us or by a third-party service provider could have an adverse effect on our reputation, cause a material disruption to our operations and management team, and result in remediation expenses, regulatory penalties and litigation by customers and other parties whose information was subject to such attacks, all of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, results of operations and cash flows. If our information technology systems become damaged or otherwise cease to function properly, our service and results of operations may be adversely affected and we may have to make significant investments to repair or replace them. Furthermore, any extended downtime from power supply disruptions or information technology system outages which may be caused by cyber security attacks or other reasons at Studio City may lead to an adverse impact on our operating results if we are unable to deliver services to customers for an extended period of time.

Despite the security measures we currently have in place, our facilities and systems and those of our third-party service providers may be vulnerable to security breaches, acts of vandalism, phishing attacks, computer viruses, misplaced or lost data, programming or human errors, other cybercrimes and other events. Cyber-attacks are becoming increasingly more difficult to anticipate and prevent due to their rapidly evolving nature and, as a result, the technology we use to protect our systems could become outdated. The occurrence of any of the cyber incidents described above could cause reputational harm to us, expose us to legal proceedings and have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and cash flows.

Any perceived or actual electronic or physical security breach involving the misappropriation, loss, or other unauthorized disclosure of confidential or personally identifiable information, whether by us or by a third party, could disrupt our business, damage our reputation and relationships with our customers, suppliers and staff, expose us to risks of litigation, significant fines and penalties and liability, result in the deterioration of our customers’, suppliers’ and staff’s confidence in us, and adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition. Any perceived or actual unauthorized disclosure of personally identifiable information of our staff, customers, suppliers or website visitors could harm our reputation and credibility and reduce our ability to attract and retain staff, customers and suppliers. We are also subject to enactment of new laws or amendments to existing laws with more stringent requirements in relation to cybersecurity. For example, a new Cybersecurity Law was introduced in Macau in 2019 which also applies to our businesses in Macau. See “Item 4. Information on the Company — B. Business Overview — Regulations — Cybersecurity Regulations.” As any of the above cybersecurity threats develop and grow and our obligations under cybersecurity regulations increase, we may find it necessary to make significant further investments to protect our data and infrastructure, including the implementation of new computer systems or upgrades to existing systems, deployment of additional personnel and protection-related technologies, engagement of third-party consultants, and training of personnel.

Failure to protect the integrity and security of company staff, supplier and customer information and comply with cybersecurity, data privacy, data protection or any other laws and regulations related to data may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations, and/or result in damage to reputation and/or subject us to fines, penalties, lawsuits, restrictions on our use or transfer of data and other risks.

Our businesses collect, use and transmit large volumes of data, including credit card numbers and personal data in various information systems relating to our customers, suppliers and staff, and such personal

 

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data may be collected and/or used in, and transmitted to or from, multiple jurisdictions. We may be subject to a variety of cybersecurity, data privacy, data protection and other laws and regulations related to data, including those relating to the collection, use, sharing, retention, security, disclosure, and transfer of confidential and private information, such as personal information and other data. These laws and regulations apply not only to third-party transactions, but also to transfers of information within our organization. These laws and regulations may restrict our business activities and increase our compliance costs and efforts. Any breach or non-compliance may subject us to proceedings, damage our reputation, or result in penalties and other significant legal liabilities, and thus may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

Our customers, suppliers and staff have a high expectation that we will adequately protect their personal information. Such collection, use and/or transmission of personal data are governed by privacy laws and regulations and such laws and regulations change often, vary significantly by jurisdiction and often are newly enacted. For example, the European Union (EU)’s General Data Protection Regulation, or the GDPR, which became effective in May 2018, requires companies to meet new and more stringent requirements regarding the handling of personal data. The GDPR may also capture data processing by non-EU firms with no EU establishment if, for example, they conduct direct marketing that specifically targets individuals in the EU. As GDPR is a newly enacted law, there is limited precedence on the interpretation and application of GDPR.

In some jurisdictions, including the PRC where we do not currently have operations, the cybersecurity, data privacy, data protection, or other data-related laws and regulations are relatively new and evolving, and their interpretation and application may be uncertain. For example, the Cybersecurity Administration of China, or CAC, issued the New Measures for Cybersecurity Review, or the New Measures, on January 4, 2022, which amended the Measures for Cybersecurity Review (Draft Revision for Comments) released on July 10, 2021 and came into effect on February 15, 2022. The New Measures extend the scope of cybersecurity review to network platform operators engaging in data processing activities that affect or may affect national security, including overseas listings. Specifically, the New Measures provide that if a network platform operator who possesses personal information of more than one million users plans to be listed in foreign countries, it must apply for cybersecurity review and, in any event, the CAC has the authority to initiate a cybersecurity review if it considers the data processing activities in connection with a proposed listing will or may affect national security. The New Measures do not specify the types of public listings that will be subject to cybersecurity review and do not give sufficient guidance on the specific types of data processing activities that may be subject to cybersecurity review. The PRC government authorities may have wide discretion in the interpretation and enforcement of the applicable laws. As such, we cannot predict the impact of the New Measures on us, if any, at this stage, and we will closely monitor and assess the developments in the rule-making process. If the practical application of the New Measures results in mandated clearance of cybersecurity reviews and other specific actions to be completed by companies operating in Macau like us, we face uncertainties as to whether such clearance can be timely obtained, or at all. As of the date of this annual report, we have not received any formal notice from any PRC cybersecurity regulator that we should apply for or otherwise be subject to a cybersecurity review, but we cannot be certain that such notifications will not occur in the future.

On November 14, 2021, the draft Regulations for the Administration of Cyber Data Security was published by the CAC for public comments, which provides that data processors conducting the following activities shall apply for cybersecurity review: (i) a merger, reorganization or division of online platform operators that have acquired a large number of data resources related to national security, economic development or public interests which affect or may affect national security; (ii) a listing abroad when the data processor processes over one million users’ personal information; (iii) a listing in Hong Kong which affects or may affect national security; or (iv) other data processing activities that affect or may affect national security. It also requires data processors processing important data or listed outside China to carry out a data security assessment annually by itself or through a third party data security service provider and submit an assessment report to the local agency of the CAC. As there are still uncertainties regarding the further enactment of new laws and regulations as well as the revision, interpretation and implementation of those existing laws and regulations, we cannot predict the impact of the Regulations for the Administration of Cyber Data Security on us, if any.

 

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We do not have any operations or maintain any office or personnel in mainland China. We have not collected, stored, or managed any personal information in mainland China. As such, we currently do not expect the draft measures by the CAC or other recent regulations to have an impact on our business or results of operations. However, we still face uncertainties regarding the interpretation and implementation of these laws and regulations in the future. Cybersecurity review could result in disruption in our operations, negative publicity with respect to our Company, and diversion of our managerial and financial resources. Therefore, potential cybersecurity review, if applicable to us, could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

In addition, the PRC Data Security Law, which was promulgated by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on June 10, 2021 and took effect on September 1, 2021, requires data collection to be conducted in a legitimate and proper manner, and stipulates that, for the purpose of data protection, data processing activities must be conducted based on data classification and hierarchical protection systems for data security. Furthermore, the recently issued Opinions on Strictly Cracking Down Illegal Securities Activities requires (i) speeding up the revision of the provisions on strengthening the confidentiality and archives management relating to overseas issuance and listing of securities and (ii) improving the laws and regulations relating to data security, cross-border data flow, and management of confidential information. The PRC Personal Information Protection Law, which was promulgated by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on August 20, 2021 and took effect on November 1, 2021, integrates the various rules with respect to personal information rights and privacy protection and applies to the processing of personal information within mainland China as well as certain personal information processing activities outside mainland China, including those for the provision of products and services to natural persons within the PRC or for the analysis and assessment of acts of natural persons within the PRC. Although we have not collected, stored or managed any personal information in mainland China, given that there remain uncertainties regarding the further interpretation and implementation of those laws and regulations, if they are deemed to be applicable to companies operating in Macau, like us, we cannot assure you that we will be compliant with such new regulations in all respects, and we may be ordered to rectify and terminate any actions that are deemed illegal by the government authorities and become subject to fines and other government sanctions, which may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations. Furthermore, we must also comply with other industry standards such as those for the credit card industry and other applicable data security standards.

Compliance with applicable privacy laws, regulations and standards may increase our operating costs and/or adversely impact our ability to market our products, properties and services to our customers and guests. For example, these laws, regulations and standards may restrict information sharing in ways that make it more difficult to obtain or share information concerning at risk individuals. In addition, non-compliance with applicable privacy laws, regulations and standards by us (or in some circumstances non-compliance by third parties engaged by us) may result in damage of reputation and/or subject us to fines, penalties, payment of damages, lawsuits, criminal liability or restrictions on our use or transfer of data. Failure to meet the GDPR requirements, for example, may result in penalties of up to four percent of worldwide revenue.

Negative press or publicity about us or our directors, officers or affiliates may lead to government investigations, result in harm to our business, brand or reputation and have a material and adverse effect on our business.

Unfavorable publicity regarding us or our directors, officers or affiliates, whether substantiated or not, may have a material and adverse effect on our business, brand and reputation. Such negative publicity may require us to engage in a defensive media campaign, which may divert our management’s attention, result in an increase in our expenses and adversely impact our results of operations, financial condition, prospects and strategies. The continued expansion in the use of social media over recent years has compounded the potential scope of the negative publicity that could be generated. Any negative press or publicity could also lead to government or other regulatory investigations, including causing regulators to take action against us or the Gaming Operator, including actions that could affect the ability or terms upon which the Gaming Operator holds

 

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its concession, its or our suitability to continue as a shareholder of certain subsidiaries and/or the suitability of key personnel to remain with the Gaming Operator. If any of these events were to occur, it could cause a material adverse effect on our business and prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

If qualified management and personnel cannot be retained at Studio City, our business could be significantly harmed.

We place substantial reliance on the gaming, project development and hospitality industry experience and knowledge of the Macau market possessed by members of our board of directors, our senior management team as well as other management personnel who serve Studio City under the Studio City Casino Agreement and the Management and Shared Services Arrangements. We may experience changes in our key management in the future for reasons beyond our control. Loss of Mr. Lawrence Ho’s services or the services of the other members of our board of directors or key management personnel could hinder our ability to effectively manage our business and implement our growth and development strategies. Finding suitable replacements for members of our board of directors or senior management could be difficult, and competition for personnel of similar experience could be intense in Macau. In addition, we do not currently carry key person insurance on any members of our senior management team.

Operation of Studio City also requires extensive operational management and staff. The supply of experienced skilled personnel in Macau is severely limited. Many of the personnel occupy sensitive positions requiring qualifications sufficient to meet gaming regulatory and other requirements or are required to possess other skills for which substantial training and experience may be needed. Competition to retain qualified personnel is likely to continue as competition in the Macau integrated resort market increases. In addition, concessionaires are not currently allowed under the Macau government’s policy to hire non-Macau resident dealers and supervisors. We cannot assure you that a sufficient number of qualified individuals will be attracted and retained to operate Studio City or that costs to recruit and retain such personnel will not increase significantly. In addition, the Gaming Operator has previously been subject to certain labor demands. The inability to attract, retain and motivate qualified staff and to continuously optimize our workforce based on changing business demands by the Gaming Operator and Master Service Providers could have a material adverse effect on our business.

In addition, recruitment efforts for the operations of Studio City may be adversely impacted by Macau government’s policies with respect to the approval and renewal of work permits for non-resident workers. In its policy address for 2017, the Macau government announced that it would continue to submit the applications for employment of non-resident workers to a rigorous exam and to stimulate the promotion of local workers to management positions in the gaming industry, signaling a tighter control on the employment of non-resident workers. Further, in its policy addresses for 2019 to 2023, the Macau government has continuously stressed that it will continue to monitor the proportion of management positions held by local workers in gaming operators and implement measures to ensure that such proportion is kept at a percentage not lower than 85% for senior and mid-management positions.

Construction is subject to hazards that may cause personal injury or loss of life that expose us to liabilities and possible losses.

The construction of large-scale properties can be dangerous. Construction workers at such sites are subject to hazards that may cause personal injury or loss of life, thereby subjecting the contractors and us to liabilities, possible losses, delays in completion of the projects and negative publicity. For example, in December 2021, there was a fatality at the construction site at the Phase 2 project and certain façade related works were suspended for approximately two weeks. We believe, and require that, our contractors take safety precautions that are consistent with industry practice, but these safety precautions may not be adequate to prevent serious personal injuries or loss of life, damage to property or delays. However, if accidents occur during construction at our property, there may be serious delays, including delays imposed by regulators, liabilities and

 

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possible losses which may not be covered by insurance, and our business, prospects and reputation may be materially and adversely affected.

Our contractors may face difficulties in finding sufficient labor at an acceptable cost, which could cause delays and increase construction costs.

The contractors we retain to construct our projects may face difficulties and competition in finding qualified construction labor and managers as more projects commence construction in Macau and as substantial construction activity continues in the PRC as well as due to the imposition of travel restrictions. Immigration and labor regulations as well as travel restrictions in Macau or the PRC may cause our contractors to be unable to recruit sufficient laborers from the PRC to make up for any shortage in available labor in Macau and to help reduce the costs of construction, which could cause delays and increase our construction costs.

The possible infringement of key intellectual property used in our business, the dissemination of proprietary information used in our business or the infringement or alleged infringement of intellectual property rights belonging to third parties could adversely affect our business.

As part of our branding strategy, we have applied for or registered a number of trademarks (including “Studio City” trademarks) in Macau, Hong Kong and other jurisdictions for use in connection with Studio City. Where possible, we intend to continue to register trademarks as we develop, review and implement our branding strategy for Studio City. We intend to take steps to safeguard our intellectual property from infringement by third parties, such as taking actions against trademark and copyright violations, if and when necessary, and our staff and/or staff of the Gaming Operator or its affiliates or its designees are subject to confidentiality provisions in their employment agreements. Despite such measures, we cannot assure you that we will be successful in defending against the infringement of intellectual property to be used in our business or that any proprietary information to be used in our business will not be disseminated to our competitors, which could have an adverse effect on our future results of operations. In addition, our current and any future trademarks are subject to expiration and we cannot guarantee that we will be able to renew all of them prior to expiration. Our inability to renew the registration of certain trademarks and the loss of such trademarks could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

We face the potential risk of claims that we have infringed the intellectual property rights of third parties, which could be expensive and time-consuming to defend, cause us to cease using certain intellectual property rights or selling or providing certain products or services, result in us being required to pay significant damages or to enter into costly royalty or licensing agreements in order to obtain the right to use a third party’s intellectual property rights (if available at all), any of which could have a negative impact on the operation of Studio City and harm our future prospects. Furthermore, if litigation were to result from such claims, our business could be interrupted.

We may not have sufficient insurance coverage.

We currently have various insurance policies providing certain coverage typically required by gaming and hospitality operations in Macau. These insurance policies provide coverage that is subject to policy terms, conditions and limits. Certain of these policies have been obtained by us and certain of these policies have been obtained by Melco Resorts. We cannot assure you that we or, in the case of policies obtained by Melco Resorts, Melco Resorts will be able to renew such insurance coverage on equivalent premium costs, terms, conditions and limits upon their expiration. Certain events, such as typhoons and fires, may increase and have increased our premium costs. The cost of coverage may in the future become so high that insurance policies we deem necessary for the operation of our projects may not be obtainable on commercially practicable terms, or at all, or policy limits may need to be reduced or exclusions from our coverage expanded. Our cyber insurance may not cover all expenses and losses and, accordingly, such breaches or other compromises of our information security or that of its third-party service providers or business partners may have an adverse impact on our operating results and financial condition.

 

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We cannot assure you that any such insurance policies we or Melco Resorts obtained or may obtain will be adequate to protect us from material losses. Certain acts and events, including any pandemic, epidemic of infectious diseases, earthquakes, hurricanes and floods, terrorist acts, or cybersecurity attacks could expose us to significant uninsured losses that may be, or are, uninsurable or too expensive to justify obtaining insurance. As a result, we, or Melco Resorts, may not be successful in obtaining insurance without increases in cost or decreases in coverage levels. In addition, in the event of a substantial loss, the insurance coverage we carry or benefit from may not be sufficient to pay the full market value or replacement cost of our lost investment or in some cases could result in certain losses being totally uninsured. In addition to the damages caused directly by a casualty loss (such as fire or natural disasters), infectious disease outbreaks or terrorist acts, we may suffer a disruption of our business as a result of these events or be subject to claims by third parties who may be injured or harmed. As an example, COVID-19 outbreaks have resulted in many governments around the world, including in Macau, placing quarantines disallowing residents to travel into or outside of the quarantined area, enforcing business closures and other restrictions. While we intend to continue carrying business interruption insurance and general liability insurance, such insurance may not be available on commercially reasonable terms, or at all, and, in any event, may not be adequate to cover any losses that may result from such events.

There is limited available insurance in Macau and insurers in Macau may need to secure reinsurance in order to provide adequate cover for our property and development projects. Our credit agreements, the Gaming Operator’s Concession Contract and certain other material agreements require a certain level of insurance to be maintained, which must be obtained in Macau, unless otherwise authorized by the respective counter-parties. Failure to maintain adequate coverage could be an event of default under our credit agreements or the Gaming Operator’s Concession Contract and may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

Studio City Entertainment’s tax exemption from complementary tax on income received from the Gaming Operator under the Studio City Casino Agreement expired in 2021.

Companies in Macau are subject to complementary tax of 12% of taxable income, as defined in relevant tax laws. The Macau government granted to Studio City Entertainment, one of our subsidiaries, a Macau complementary tax exemption until 2021 on profits generated from income received from the Gaming Operator, to the extent that such income results from gaming operations within Studio City Casino and has been subject to gaming taxes. Studio City Entertainment has applied for the extension of the complementary tax exemption for 2022 and for the period from January 1, 2023 through December 31, 2027. However, we cannot assure you that the complementary tax exemption to Studio City Entertainment will be extended beyond its expiration date. If the tax exemption cannot be extended and we are held liable for complementary tax, it may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition.

From time to time, we may be involved in legal and other proceedings arising out of our operations.

We may be involved in disputes with various parties involved in the construction and operation of Studio City, including contractual disputes with contractors, consultants, suppliers, retailers, food and beverage operators and construction workers. See “Item 8. Financial Information — A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information — Legal and Administrative Proceedings.” Regardless of the outcome, these disputes may lead to legal or other proceedings and may result in substantial costs, delays in our schedule and the diversion of resources and management’s attention. In addition, we may be involved in a variety of litigation, regulatory proceedings and investigation arising out of our business, which are inherently unpredictable. Ultimate judgments or settlements for such proceedings could increase our costs and thereby lower our profitability or have a material adverse effect on our liquidity. We cannot assure you that we will be able to obtain the appropriate and sufficient types or levels of insurance for Studio City. We may also have disagreements with regulatory bodies in the course of our operations, which may subject us to administrative proceedings and unfavorable decisions that result in penalties, suspension or restrictions on our operations, and/or delay the

 

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opening of our Phase 2 project at Studio City or closure of outlets at Studio City that are currently in operation. In such cases, our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows could be materially and adversely affected.

In addition, claims and proceedings against us, including but not limited to any claims alleging that we received, misappropriated or misapplied funds, or violated any anti-corruption law or regulation, may result in our business operations being subject to greater scrutiny from relevant regulatory authorities and requiring us to make further improvements to our existing systems and controls and business operations, all of which may increase our compliance costs. No assurance can be provided that any provisions we have made for such matters will be sufficient. Litigation and regulatory proceedings and investigation are inherently unpredictable and our results of operations or cash flows may be adversely affected by an unfavorable resolution of any pending or future litigation, disputes and regulatory investigation.

Any failure or alleged failure to comply with anti-corruption laws, including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”), could result in penalties, which could harm our reputation and have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

We are subject to various anti-corruption laws, including the FCPA. The FCPA prohibits companies and any individuals or entities acting on their behalf from offering or making improper payments or providing things of value to foreign officials for the purpose of obtaining or keeping business. The FCPA also requires companies to maintain accurate books and records and to devise and maintain a system of internal accounting controls. There has been a general increase in FCPA enforcement activities in recent years by the SEC and the U.S. Department of Justice. Both the number of FCPA cases and sanctions imposed have risen significantly.

While we and our affiliated companies have adopted and implemented an anti-corruption compliance program covering both commercial bribery and public corruption which includes internal policies, procedures and training aimed to prevent and detect anti-corruption compliance issues and risks, and procedures to take remedial action when compliance issues are identified, we cannot assure you that our employees, consultants, contractors and agents, and those of our affiliates, will adhere to the anti-corruption compliance program, or that any action taken to comply with, or address compliance issues, will be considered adequate by the regulatory bodies with jurisdiction over us and our affiliates. Any violation of our compliance program or applicable law by us or our affiliates could subject us or our affiliates to investigations, prosecutions and other legal proceedings and actions which could result in civil penalties, administrative remedies and criminal sanctions, any of which may result in a material adverse effect on our reputation, cause us to lose customer relationships or lead to other adverse consequences on our business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition. In addition, as a U.S. listed company, certain U.S. laws and regulations apply to our operations and compliance with those laws and regulations increases our cost of doing business.

Fluctuation in the value of the H.K. dollar, U.S. dollar, Pataca or RMB may adversely affect our indebtedness, expenses and profitability.

Although the majority of the revenues from the operation of Studio City are denominated in H.K. dollars, we have certain expenses and revenues denominated in Patacas. In addition, a certain portion of our indebtedness and certain expenses are denominated in U.S. dollars, and the costs associated with repaying such debt and servicing interest payments are denominated in U.S. dollars. The value of the H.K. dollar and Patacas against the U.S. dollar may fluctuate and may be affected by, among other things, changes in political and economic conditions. Although the exchange rate between the H.K. dollar and the U.S. dollar has been pegged since 1983 and the Pataca is pegged to the H.K. dollar, we cannot assure you that the H.K. dollar will remain pegged to the U.S. dollar and that the Pataca will remain pegged to the H.K. dollar. In addition, the currency market for Patacas is relatively small and undeveloped and therefore our ability to convert large amounts of Patacas into U.S. dollars over a relatively short period of time may be limited. As a result, we may experience difficulty in converting Patacas into U.S. dollars, which could hinder our ability to service a portion of our

 

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indebtedness and certain expenses denominated in U.S. dollars. On the other hand, to the extent that we are required to convert U.S. dollar financings into H.K. dollars or Patacas for our operations, fluctuations in the exchange rates between H.K. dollars or Patacas against the U.S. dollar could have an adverse effect on the amounts we receive from the conversion.

Furthermore, the depreciation of RMB against U.S. dollar or H.K. dollar will affect the purchasing power of visitors from the PRC, which in turn may affect the visitation and level of spending at Studio City. To date we have not engaged in hedging transactions with respect to foreign exchange exposure of our revenues and expenses in our day-to-day operations. Instead, we plan to maintain a certain amount of our operating funds in the same currencies in which we have obligations, thereby reducing our exposure to currency fluctuations. However, we may occasionally enter into foreign exchange transactions as part of financing transactions and capital expenditure. We will consider our overall policy on hedging for foreign exchange risk from time to time. Any significant fluctuations in the exchange rates mentioned above may have a material adverse effect on our revenues and financial condition.

Furthermore, the PRC has tightened currency exchange controls and restrictions on the export and conversion of the Renminbi, the currency of mainland China, in recent years. Restrictions on the export of the Renminbi, as well as the increased effectiveness of such restrictions, may impede the flow of patrons from mainland China to Macau, inhibit the growth of gaming in those markets and negatively impact our gaming operations.

Economic or trade sanctions and a heightened trend towards trade and technology “de-coupling” could negatively affect the relationships and collaborations with our suppliers, service providers, technology partners and other business partners, which could materially and adversely affect our competitiveness and business operations.

The United Nations and a number of countries and jurisdictions, including the PRC, the United States and the EU, have adopted various economic or trade sanction regimes. In particular, economic and trade sanctions have been threatened and/or imposed by the U.S. government on a number of PRC-based technology companies, including ZTE Corporation, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., or Huawei, Tencent Holdings Limited, certain of their respective affiliates, and other PRC-based technology companies. These PRC technology conglomerates manufacture and/or develop telecommunications and other equipment, software, mobile Apps and devices that are popular and widely used globally, including by us and by our customers, especially those in mainland China. The United States has also in certain circumstances threatened to impose further sanctions, trade embargoes, and other heightened regulatory requirements on the PRC and PRC-based companies. The U.S. government has brought enforcement actions against ZTE Corporation and Huawei and related persons, as well as companies who engaged in unauthorized transactions with Huawei.

These restrictions, and similar or more expansive restrictions that may be imposed by the U.S. or other jurisdictions in the future, though may not be directly applicable to us, may materially and adversely affect our suppliers, service providers, technology partners or other business partners’ abilities to acquire technologies, systems, devices or components that may be critical to our relationships or collaborations with them. In addition, if any of our suppliers, service providers, technology partners or other business partners that have collaborative relationships with us or our affiliates were to become subject to sanctions or other restrictions, this might restrict or negatively impact our ongoing relationships or collaborations with them, which could materially and adversely affect our competitiveness and business operations. Media reports on alleged uses of the technologies, systems or innovations developed by business partners or other parties not affiliated with or controlled by us, even on matters not involving us, could nevertheless damage our reputation and lead to regulatory investigations, fines and penalties against us.

 

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Climate change, environmental, social and governance and sustainability related concerns could have a significant negative impact on our business and results of operations.

Governments, regulatory authorities, investors, customers, employees and other stakeholders are increasingly focusing on environmental, social and governance, or ESG, and sustainability practices and disclosures, and expectations in this area are rapidly evolving and growing. There are also risks associated with the chronic and acute physical effects of climate change (including changes in sea levels, water shortages, droughts, typhoons and other extreme weather phenomena and natural disasters). Inability to maintain reliable energy supplies due to climate change disruptions may also impact our business continuity and an increase in frequency of extreme weather events could leave us vulnerable to increased insurance costs or limit or ability to obtain sufficient coverage. See “— Risks Relating to Conducting Business and Operating in Macau — Macau is susceptible to typhoons and heavy rainstorms that may damage our property and disrupt our operations.”

We are also subject to the changes in related laws and regulation and their compliance could be difficult and costly. The criteria by which our ESG and sustainability practices are assessed may also change due to the evolution of the sustainability landscape, which could result in greater expectations of us and cause us to undertake costly initiatives to satisfy such new criteria. We have potentially high exposure to net zero transition-related policies and carbon prices that could result in energy inflationary pressures. Implicit carbon costs could also affect us where investments are required to meet building efficiency requirements and emissions regulations that are introduced as part of net zero transition plans. In addition, we have exposure to potential commodity price increase pressures on energy intensive goods and construction materials procured as a result of net zero transition-related regulations. If we are unable to satisfy such new criteria, stakeholders may conclude our policies and/or actions with respect to ESG and sustainability matters are inadequate. In addition, we utilize a significant amount of energy and water and produce a substantial amount of waste in our operations and any failure in our efforts to use materials efficiently or reduce waste may not meet the expectations of our stakeholders and our own ESG objectives. Compliance with future climate-related legislation and regulation, and our efforts to achieve emissions reduction targets, could also be difficult and costly. Consumer travel and consumption preferences may also shift due to sustainability related concerns or costs. As a result of the foregoing, we may experience significant increased operating and compliance costs, operating disruptions or limitations, reduced demand, and constraints on our growth, all of which could adversely affect our profits.

Risks Relating to Operating in the Gaming Industry in Macau

The Macau government may terminate the concession under certain circumstances without compensation to the Gaming Operator and may, pursuant to the Gaming Operator’s concession, determine that Studio City Casino may not continue to operate under the Studio City Casino Agreement, which would prevent the operation of Studio City Casino.

Under the Gaming Operator’s concession, the Macau government has the right to unilaterally terminate the concession in the event of non-compliance by the Gaming Operator with its basic obligations under the concession and applicable Macau laws. If such a termination were to occur, the Gaming Operator would be unable to operate gaming in Macau, including at Studio City Casino. Termination events include, among others, endangerment to the national security of the PRC or Macau; the operation of gaming without permission or operation of a business which does not fall within the business scope of the concession; abandonment of approved business or suspension of operations of its gaming business in Macau without reasonable grounds; transfer of all or part of the Gaming Operator’s operation in Macau in violation of the relevant laws and administrative regulations governing the operation of games of fortune or chance and other casino games in Macau and without Macau government approval; failure to pay taxes, premiums, levies or other amounts payable to the Macau government; systematic non-compliance with the Macau Gaming Operations Law’s basic obligations; for reasons of public interest; and for failure to meet probity standards or failure to meet the investment amount and other criteria set in the Concession Contract within the period set by the Macau government. These events could lead to the termination of the Gaming Operator’s concession without compensation and the Gaming Operator would be unable to operate gaming in Macau, which may have a

 

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material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows and could result in defaults under our indebtedness agreements and a partial or complete loss of our investments in Studio City. In many of these instances, the Concession Contract does not provide a specific cure period within which any such events may be cured and, instead, the Gaming Operator would rely on consultations and negotiations with the Macau government to remedy any such violation.

Under the terms of the Studio City Casino Agreement to which Studio City Entertainment, one of our subsidiaries, is a party, the Gaming Operator has agreed to operate Studio City Casino. If, upon termination of the Gaming Operator’s concession, or under the new gaming law, Studio City Entertainment were not able to continue the same arrangements or enter into similar arrangements, Studio City Casino may not be able to continue to operate in the same manner or at all, and the casino and gaming equipment operated by the Gaming Operator under its concession will revert or be transferred to the Macau government without compensation.

Under the Gaming Operator’s concession, the Macau government is allowed to request various changes in its investment plans and to make various other decisions and determinations. The law amending the gaming law also grants the Macau government authority to require for changes and specifications to be made to properties operated by concessionaires, including the Gaming Operator. In addition, the Chief Executive of Macau has the right to require an increase of the Gaming Operator’s share capital or that the Gaming Operator provides certain deposits or other guarantees of performance with respect to its obligations in any amount determined by the Macau government to be necessary. The Gaming Operator also needs to first obtain the approval of the Macau governmental authorities before raising certain financing and must notify the Macau government before taking certain financial decisions. The Gaming Operator’s ability to incur indebtedness or raise equity may be further restricted by its existing and any future financings. As a result, we cannot assure you that the Gaming Operator will be able to comply with these requirements or any other requirements of the Macau government or with the other requirements and obligations imposed by the concession or the law amending the gaming law or other related regulations.

The Concession Contract also contains various covenants and other obligations as to which the determination of compliance is subjective, and any failure to comply with any such covenant or obligation could result in the termination of the concession. For example, requirements of compliance with general and special duties of cooperation and special duties of information may be subjective, and we cannot assure you that the Gaming Operator will always be able to operate gaming activities in a manner satisfactory to the Macau government. The law amending the Macau gaming law also contemplates various covenants and obligations the determination of which is discretionary or subjective. Accordingly, we will be impacted by the Gaming Operator’s continuing communications and good faith negotiations with the Macau government to ensure that the Gaming Operator is performing its obligations under the concession and applicable law in a manner that would avoid any violations.

Furthermore, pursuant to the Concession Contract, the Gaming Operator is obligated to comply not only with the terms of that agreement, but also with laws, regulations, rulings and orders that the Macau government might issue or enact in the future. We cannot assure you that it will be able to comply with all such laws, regulations, rulings or orders or that any such laws, regulations, rulings or orders would not adversely affect its ability to operate the Studio City Casino. If any disagreement arises between the Gaming Operator and the Macau government regarding the interpretation of, or its compliance with, a provision of the Concession Contract or then applicable law, we will be relying on its consultation and negotiation process with the Macau government as described above. During any such consultation, however, the Gaming Operator will be obligated to comply with the terms of the Concession Contract or law, as interpreted by the Macau government.

Upon the expiration or termination of the Gaming Operator’s concession by the Macau government, the Studio City Casino’s gaming area and equipment will revert or be transferred to the Macau government without compensation to the Gaming Operator.

 

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Studio City Casino faces intense competition in the gaming industry of Macau and elsewhere in Asia, and it may not be able to compete successfully.

The gaming industry in Macau and elsewhere in Asia is highly competitive. Our competitors include many of the largest gaming, hospitality, leisure and resort companies in the world. Some of these current and future competitors are larger than us and may have more diversified resources, better brand recognition and greater access to capital to support their developments and operations in Macau and elsewhere. In particular, in recent years, competitors have opened new properties, expanded operations and/or announced their intention for further expansion and developments in Cotai, where Studio City is located. For example, Galaxy Casino, S.A., or Galaxy, completed phase 3 of the Galaxy Macau Resort, which is expected to be progressively opened in the second quarter of 2023, while phase 4 is currently under development. MGM Cotai opened in February 2018. In addition, Sociedade de Jogos de Macau, S.A., or SJM, opened Grand Lisboa Palace in July 2021 and is expected to open two additional hotels in 2023, while Sands Cotai Central in Cotai has been rebranded and redeveloped into The Londoner Macau, which opened in February 2021.

Studio City Casino will also compete to some extent with casinos located in other countries, such as Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and elsewhere in the world, including Las Vegas and Atlantic City in the United States. Certain other markets may in the future legalize casino gaming, including Taiwan and Thailand. Certain of these gaming markets may not be subject to as stringent regulations as the Macau market. Studio City Casino will also compete with both legal and illegal online gaming and sports-betting websites, cruise ships operating out of Hong Kong and other areas of Asia that offer gaming. The proliferation of gaming venues in Asia could significantly and adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition, cash flows and prospects.

Currently, Macau is the only region in the Greater China area offering legal casino gaming. Although the PRC government has strictly enforced its regulations prohibiting domestic gaming operations, there may be casinos in parts of the PRC that are operated illegally and without licenses. In addition, there is no assurance that the PRC will not in the future permit domestic gaming operations. Competition from casinos in the PRC, legal or illegal, could materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition, cash flows and prospects.

Furthermore, Melco Resorts, as well as the Gaming Operator, may take action to construct and operate new gaming projects or invest in such projects, located in other countries in the Asia region (including new gaming projects in Macau) or outside the Asia region, which, along with their current operations, such as Altira Macau and City of Dreams, may increase the competition Studio City Casino will face. See “— Risks Relating to Our Relationship with Melco Resorts — We may have conflicts of interest with Melco Resorts and, because of Melco Resorts’ controlling ownership interest in our Company, we may not be able to resolve such conflicts on favorable terms for us.

Gaming is a highly regulated industry in Macau and adverse changes or developments in gaming laws or regulations could be difficult to comply with or significantly increase costs, which could cause Studio City Casino to be unsuccessful.

Gaming is a highly regulated industry in Macau and is subject to the risk of changes in laws and policies. Current laws, such as licensing requirements, tax rates and other regulatory obligations, including those for anti-money laundering, could change or become more stringent resulting in additional regulations being imposed upon gaming operations in Macau as well as increased audits and inspections by regulators, including the Studio City Casino. Any such adverse developments in the regulation of the gaming industry could be difficult to comply with and could significantly increase costs, which could cause Studio City Casino to be unsuccessful and adversely affect our financial performance.

While the Gaming Operator does not currently have gaming promoters arrangements at the Studio City Casino following their cessation in December 2021, if the Gaming Operator decides to enter into new

 

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arrangements with gaming promoters in the future, such arrangements and related activities will be subject to the requirements under the applicable laws and regulations. In September 2009, the Macau government set a cap on commission payments to gaming promoters of 1.25% of net rolling. This policy may limit the Gaming Operator’s ability to develop successful relationships with gaming promoters from time to time in the future and attract VIP rolling chip players, which in turn may adversely affect the financial performance of the VIP rolling chip operations at Studio City Casino. On June 22, 2022, Law no. 7/2022, which amends Law no. 16/2001, or the Macau Gaming Operations Law, was published and on December 19, 2022, Law no. 16/2022, the new Gaming Activities Law, which replaces Administrative Regulation no. 6/2022, or the Gaming Promoter Regulation was published. These laws set additional requirements applicable to the Studio City Casino. Any failure to comply with these regulations, as they may be applicable, may result in the imposition of liabilities, fines and other penalties and may materially and adversely affect the Gaming Operator’s concession or the operation of the Studio City Casino. See “Item 4. Information on the Company — B. Business Overview — Regulations — Gaming Activities Regulations.”

In addition, the Macau government imposed regulations and restrictions that affect the minimum age required for entrance into casinos in Macau, entry into casinos by off-duty gaming-related employees, location requirements for sites with gaming machine lounges, data privacy and other matters. Any such legislation, regulation or restriction which is being or may in the future be imposed by the Macau government may have a material adverse impact on our operations, business and financial performance. Furthermore, our inability to address any of these requirements or restrictions imposed by the Macau government could adversely affect our reputation and result in criminal or administrative penalties, in addition to any civil liability and other expenses. See “Item 4. Information on the Company — B. Business Overview — Regulations — Gaming Operation Regulations.”

Also, smoking on the premises of casinos is only permitted in authorized segregated smoking lounges with no gaming activities, and such segregated smoking lounges are required to meet certain standards determined by the Macau government. Studio City Casino currently has a number of segregated smoking lounges. We cannot assure you that the Macau government will not enact more stringent smoking control legislation. Such limitations imposed on smoking have and may deter potential gaming patrons who are smokers from visiting casinos in Macau, which could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition. See “Item 4. Information on the Company — B. Business Overview — Regulations — Smoking Regulations.”

Under the amended gaming law, the Macau government has set a cap on gaming tables and gaming machines that may be operated in Macau at 6,000 gaming tables and 12,000 gaming machines. In addition, gaming tables and gaming machines previously allocated to a concessionaire may also be revoked if the minimum average annual gross gaming revenue of MOP7 million (equivalent to approximately US$870,233) for gaming tables and MOP300,000 (equivalent to approximately US$37,296) for gaming machines are not met for two consecutive years or the tables or gaming machines are not fully utilized without reason within a certain period.

Current Macau laws and regulations concerning gaming and gaming concessions and matters such as prevention of money laundering are fairly recent or there is little precedent on the interpretation of these laws and regulations. While we expect that the Gaming Operator will operate Studio City Casino in compliance in all material respects with all applicable laws and regulations of Macau, these laws and regulations are complex and a court or an administrative or regulatory body may in the future render an interpretation of these laws and regulations or issue new or modified regulations that differ from our or the Gaming Operator’s interpretation, which could have a material adverse effect on the operation of Studio City Casino and on our financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and prospects.

Our activities in Macau are subject to administrative review and approval by various departments of the Macau government. For example, our business activities and Studio City Casino are subject to the

 

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administrative review and approval by the DICJ, Macau health department, Macau labor bureau, Macau construction works bureau, Macau fire department, Macau finance department and Macau government tourism office. We cannot assure you that we or the Gaming Operator will be able to obtain or maintain all necessary approvals, which may materially affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and prospects. Macau law permits redress to the courts with respect to administrative actions. However, such redress is largely untested in relation to gaming regulatory issues.

Studio City Casino is subject to operational risks commonly faced by other gaming facilities in Macau.

Studio City Casino faces operational risks commonly experienced in the gaming industry in Macau. Such risks include, but are not limited to, the following:

 

   

Inability to Collect Gaming Receivables from Credit Customers. The Gaming Operator may grant gaming credit directly to certain customers at Studio City Casino, which will often be unsecured. The Gaming Operator may not be able to collect all of its gaming receivables from, or fully realize the value of collateral posted by, its credit customers at Studio City Casino, and we expect that the Gaming Operator will be able to enforce its gaming receivables only in a limited number of jurisdictions, including Macau and under certain circumstances, Hong Kong. The Gaming Operator’s inability to collect gaming receivables from credit customers may in turn affect our financial performance.

 

   

Limited Availability of Credit to Gaming Patrons. The Gaming Operator conducts its table gaming activities at Studio City Casino partially on a credit basis. The Gaming Operator may extend credit to certain of its patrons and, if any are engaged to provide services to Studio City Casino, gaming promoters. Any general economic downturn and turmoil in the financial markets may result in broad limitations on the availability of credit from credit sources as well as lengthening the recovery cycle of extended credit. In particular, due to credit conditions in the PRC and the tightening of cross-border fund transfers by the PRC government to control capital outflows in recent years, the number of visitors to Macau from the PRC, as well as the amounts they are willing to spend in casinos, may decrease, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

   

Inability to Control Win Rates. The gaming industry is characterized by an element of chance. In addition to the element of chance, theoretical expected win rates will also be affected by the spread of table limits and factors that are beyond the operator’s control, such as a player’s skill and experience, the mix of games played, the financial resources of players, the volume and mix of bets played, the amount of time players spend on gambling and the number of players. As a result of the variability in these factors, the actual win rates at Studio City Casino may differ from the theoretical win rates anticipated and could result in less winnings than anticipated.

 

   

Risk of Fraud or Cheating of Gaming Patrons and Staff. Gaming customers may attempt or commit fraud or cheat in order to increase their winnings, including in collusion with the casino’s staff. Internal acts of cheating could also be conducted by staff through collusion with dealers, surveillance staff, floor managers or other gaming area staff. Failure to discover such acts or schemes in a timely manner could result in losses in Studio City Casino operations and negative publicity for Studio City. In addition, gaming promoters, if any, or other persons could, without the knowledge of the Gaming Operator, enter into betting arrangements directly with patrons on the outcomes of games of chance, thus depriving Studio City Casino of revenues.

 

   

Risk of Counterfeiting. All gaming activities at Studio City Casino’s table games are conducted exclusively with gaming chips which are subject to the risk of alteration and counterfeiting. The Gaming Operator has incorporated a variety of security and anti-counterfeit features to detect altered or counterfeit gaming chips. Despite such security features, unauthorized parties may try to copy gaming chips and introduce, use and cash in altered or counterfeit gaming chips in Studio City’s gaming areas. Any negative publicity arising from such incidents could result in losses in Studio City Casino operations and negative publicity for Studio City.

 

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Risk of Malfunction of Gaming Machines. There is no assurance that the slot machines at Studio City will be functioning properly at all times. If any one or more gaming machines malfunction due to technical or other reasons, the win rates associated with the gaming machines may be affected in a way that adversely impact the revenue of Studio City Casino. In addition, Studio City Casino’s reputation may be materially and adversely affected as a result of any incidents of malfunction.

Any of these risks has the potential to materially and adversely affect Studio City Casino and our business, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and prospects.

The Macau government could grant additional rights to conduct gaming in the future, which could significantly increase competition in Macau and cause Studio City Casino to lose or be unable to gain or maintain market share.

Pursuant to the terms of Macau Law No. 16/2001, or the Macau Gaming Operations Law, as amended, the maximum number of gaming concessions is six. Concessionaires are prohibited from entering into a subconcession agreement. Notwithstanding, the policies and laws of the Macau government may change and could result in the grant of additional concessions or subconcessions, which could significantly increase competition in Macau and also cause Studio City Casino to lose or be unable to maintain or gain market share and, as a result, adversely affect our business.

We cannot assure you that anti-money laundering policies that have been implemented at Studio City Casino and its compliance with applicable anti-money laundering laws will be effective to prevent Studio City Casino from being exploited for money laundering purposes.

Macau’s free port, offshore financial services and free movement of capital create an environment whereby Macau’s casinos could be exploited for money laundering purposes. Melco Resorts’ and the Gaming Operator’s anti-money laundering policies, which we believe to be in compliance with all applicable anti-money laundering laws and regulations in Macau, are applied to the operation of Studio City Casino. However, we cannot assure you that the Gaming Operator, our contractors, agents or the staff performing services at Studio City Casino will continually adhere to such policies or any such policies will be effective in preventing Studio City Casino operations from being exploited for money laundering purposes, including from jurisdictions outside of Macau. We cannot assure you that we will not be subject to any accusation or investigation related to any possible money laundering activities despite the anti-money laundering measures we have adopted and undertaken or that we will adopt and undertake in the future.

The Gaming Operator also deals with significant amounts of cash in Studio City Casino’s operations and is subject to various reporting and anti-money laundering regulations as well as audits and inspections by regulators. Any incidents of money laundering, accusations of money laundering or regulatory investigations into possible money laundering activities involving Studio City Casino, its staff, gaming promoters, if any, or customers or others with whom it is associated could have a material adverse impact on our reputation, business, cash flow, financial condition, prospects and results of operations. Any serious incident of, or repeated violation of, laws related to money laundering or any regulatory investigation into money laundering activities may cause a revocation or suspension of the concession held by the Gaming Operator. For more information regarding anti-money laundering regulations in Macau, see “Item 4. Information on the Company — B. Business Overview — Regulations — Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Regulations.”

Risks Relating to Our Relationship with Melco Resorts

We are heavily dependent on our shareholder, Melco Resorts, and expect to continue to be dependent on Melco Resorts.

Melco Resorts is a developer, owner and operator of integrated resort facilities in Asia and Europe, and our business has benefited significantly from Melco Resorts’ strong market position in Macau and its expertise in

 

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both gaming and non-gaming businesses. We cannot assure you we will continue to receive the same level of support from Melco Resorts in the future.

Melco Resorts has provided us with substantially all of our financial, administrative, sales and marketing, human resources and legal services and has also provided us with the services of a number of its staff pursuant to the Management and Shared Services Arrangements. Other than our property general manager, all of the Studio City dedicated staff are employed by the Master Service Providers under such arrangements. See “Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions — B. Related Party Transactions — Management and Shared Services Arrangements.” We expect Melco Resorts to continue to provide us with such support services in the future. However, there is no assurance that employees of Master Service Providers, who also support our financial, management, administration and other corporate functions, will be able to carry out their responsibilities in the best interests of Studio City or provide sufficient support for us to operate as an independent public company in compliance with the relevant financial reporting, internal control and other legal and regulatory requirements. In addition, to the extent Melco Resorts does not continue to provide us with such support, we may need to create our own support systems and may encounter operational, administrative and strategic difficulties. Having to create our own support systems due to lack of support from Melco Resorts may cause us to react more slowly than our competitors to industry changes and may divert our management’s attention from running our business, increase our operating costs or otherwise harm our operations.

In addition, since we have only been a public company since October 2018, our management team will need to develop the expertise necessary to comply with the numerous regulatory and other requirements applicable to public companies, including requirements relating to corporate governance, listing standards and securities and investor relations issues. Prior to our initial public offering, we were indirectly subject to requirements to maintain an effective internal control over financial reporting under Section 404 of the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002 as a subsidiary of Melco Resorts. However, as a public company itself, our management will have to evaluate our internal control system independently with new thresholds of materiality and to implement necessary changes to our internal control system. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so in a timely and effective manner.

Our business has benefited significantly from our relationship with Melco Resorts. Any negative development in Melco Resorts’ market position or brand recognition may materially and adversely affect our marketing efforts and the strength of our brand.

We are a subsidiary of Melco Resorts and have benefited significantly from our relationship with Melco Resorts in marketing our brand. For example, we have benefited by providing services to Melco Resorts’ long-term customers. We also benefit from Melco Resorts’ strong brand recognition in Macau, which has provided us credibility and a broad marketing reach. If Melco Resorts loses its market position, the effectiveness of our marketing efforts through our association with Melco Resorts may be materially and adversely affected. In addition, any negative publicity associated with Melco Resorts will likely have an adverse impact on the effectiveness of our marketing as well as our reputation and our brand.

We may have conflicts of interest with Melco Resorts and, because of Melco Resorts’ controlling ownership interest in our Company, we may not be able to resolve such conflicts on favorable terms for us.

Conflicts of interest may arise between Melco Resorts and us in a number of areas relating to our past and ongoing relationships. Potential conflicts of interest include:

 

   

Other Integrated Resorts in Macau. Melco Resorts owns other integrated resorts in Macau and the Gaming Operator, as a subsidiary of Melco Resorts, operates casinos and gaming areas at such resorts owned by Melco Resorts. The ownership and operation of City of Dreams and Altira Macau by Melco Resorts and the Gaming Operator may divert their attention and resources. Any strategic decisions made by Melco Resorts to focus on their other projects in Macau rather than us, could materially and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

 

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Allocation of Business Opportunities. Melco Resorts, as well as the Gaming Operator, may take action to construct and operate new gaming projects or invest in such projects located in the Asian region (including new gaming projects in Macau) or elsewhere, which, along with their current operations, including City of Dreams and Altira Macau, may divert their attention and resources. For example, in 2015, Melco Resorts opened City of Dreams Manila, a casino, hotel, retail and entertainment resort in Manila, the Philippines. In 2019, Melco Resorts acquired from Melco International a 75% equity interest in the City of Dreams Mediterranean project, which is currently under development, as well as the temporary and satellite casinos opened prior to the official launch of the City of Dreams Mediterranean project. We could face competition from these other gaming projects. Due to the Management and Shared Services Arrangements we have with Melco Resorts, should Melco Resorts decide to focus more attention on gaming projects located in other areas, including in jurisdictions that may be expanding or commencing their gaming industries, or should economic conditions or other factors result in a significant decrease in gaming revenues and number of patrons in Macau, Melco Resorts may make strategic decisions to focus on their other projects rather than us, which could adversely affect our development and operation of Studio City and future growth.

 

   

Related Party Transactions. We have entered into a number of related party transactions, including the Management and Shared Services Arrangements, that we believe allow us to leverage off the experience and scale of Melco Resorts. While these arrangements were entered into at pre-agreed rates that we believe are commercially reasonable, the determination of such commercial terms were subject to judgment and estimates and we may have obtained different terms for similar types of services had we entered into such arrangements with independent third parties or had we not been a subsidiary of Melco Resorts.

 

   

Our Board Members and Executive Officers May Have Conflicts of Interest. Certain of our directors are also the directors and/or executive officers of Melco Resorts, our property general manager serves on Melco Resorts’ executive committee and our chief financial officer is an executive officer of Melco Resorts. In addition, our senior management team (including staff of Melco Resorts designated to Studio City under the Management and Shared Services Arrangements) also has reporting obligations to Melco Resorts. Certain of our directors have also been appointed by New Cotai. These relationships could create, or appear to create, conflicts of interest when these persons are faced with decisions with potentially different implications for Melco Resorts or New Cotai, as the case may be, and us. See “— Risks Relating to Our Business — We rely on services provided by subsidiaries of Melco Resorts, including hiring and training of personnel for Studio City” and “— Risks Relating to Our Relationship with Melco Resorts — Certain of our directors and executive officers hold a substantial amount of share options, restricted shares and ordinary shares of Melco Resorts, which could create an appearance of potential conflicts of interests.” While we have appointed independent directors to our board of directors, and our audit and risk committee consists solely of independent directors, due to the nature of their role as independent directors, such directors may not have access to the same information, resources and support as directors who are also directors and/or executive officers of Melco Resorts, which may hinder their ability to eliminate all conflicts of interest presented by our relationships with Melco Resorts.

 

   

Developing Business Relationships with Melco Resorts’ Competitors. So long as Melco Resorts remains our controlling shareholder, we may be limited in our ability to do business with its competitors, such as other gaming operators in Macau. This may limit our ability to market our services for the best interests of our Company and our other shareholders.

We expect to operate, for as long as Melco Resorts is our controlling shareholder, as a subsidiary of Melco Resorts. Melco Resorts may from time to time make strategic decisions that it believes are in the best interests of its business as a whole, including our Company. These decisions may be different from the decisions that we would have made on our own. Melco Resorts’ decisions with respect to us or our business may be resolved in ways that favor Melco Resorts and therefore Melco Resorts’ own shareholders, which may not

 

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coincide with the interests of our other shareholders. We may not be able to resolve any potential conflicts, and even if we do so, the resolution may be less favorable to us than if we were dealing with a non-controlling shareholder. Even if both parties seek to transact business on terms intended to approximate those that could have been achieved among unaffiliated parties, this may not succeed in practice.

Certain of our directors and executive officers hold a substantial amount of share options, restricted shares and ordinary shares of Melco Resorts, which could create an appearance of potential conflicts of interests.

Certain of our directors and executive officers hold a substantial amount of share options, restricted shares and ordinary shares of Melco Resorts, and the value of such share options and restricted shares are related to the value of the ordinary shares of Melco Resorts. In addition, our directors and executive officers are eligible to participate in the share incentive plan of Melco Resorts. See “Item 6. Directors, Senior Management and Employees — B. Compensation of Directors and Executive Officers — Share Incentive Plan.” The direct and indirect interests of our directors and executive officers in the ordinary shares of Melco Resorts and the presence of certain directors and executive officers of Melco Resorts on our board of directors or senior executive team could create, or appear to create, conflicts of interest with respect to matters involving both Melco Resorts and us that could have different implications for Melco Resorts and us. For example, potential conflicts of interest could arise in connection with the resolution of any dispute between Melco Resorts and us, or the affiliates of Melco Resorts and us, regarding the terms of the arrangements we have with Melco Resorts or its affiliates. These arrangements include the Studio City Casino Agreement, the Management and Shared Services Arrangements and any commercial agreements between Melco Resorts and us, or the affiliates of Melco Resorts and us. Potential conflicts of interest may also arise out of any commercial arrangements that Melco Resorts and us may enter into in the future. Similar potential conflicts may also arise related to the pursuit of certain opportunities, including growth opportunities in Macau or elsewhere.

Changes in Melco Resorts’ share ownership, including a change of control of its subsidiaries’ shares, could result in our inability to draw loans or cause events of default under our indebtedness, or could require us to prepay or make offers to repurchase certain indebtedness.

Credit facility agreements relating to certain of our indebtedness contain change of control provisions, including in respect of Melco Resorts’ obligations relating to the control and/or ownership of certain of its and our subsidiaries including their and our assets. Under the terms of such credit facility agreements, the occurrence of certain change of control events, including a decline below certain thresholds in the aggregate direct or indirect shareholdings in certain of Melco Resorts’ subsidiaries, including Studio City Holdings Five Limited, Studio City Finance and Studio City Investments, may result in an event of default and/or a cancellation of committed amounts as well as a requirement to prepay the credit facilities in relation to such indebtedness in full.

The terms of the agreement of certain indebtedness also contain change of control provisions whereby the occurrence of a relevant change of control event will require us to offer to repurchase the securities at a price equal to 101% of their principal amount, plus accrued and unpaid interest and, if any, additional amounts and other amounts specified under such indebtedness to the date of repurchase.

Any occurrence of these events could be outside our control and could result in events of default and cross-defaults which may cause the termination and acceleration of our credit facilities and other indebtedness and potential enforcement of remedies by our lenders or note holders (as the case may be), which would have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

Risks Relating to Conducting Business and Operating in Macau

Our business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected by any economic slowdown in Macau, the PRC and nearby Asia regions as well as globally.

All of our operations are in Macau. Accordingly, our results of operations and financial condition may be materially adversely affected by significant political, social and economic developments in Macau and the

 

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PRC. A slowdown in economic growth in the PRC could adversely impact the number of visitors from the PRC to Studio City as well as the amount they are willing to spend in our hotel, restaurants and other facilities as well as at Studio City Casino, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of the operations and financial condition. Various factors have recently negatively impacted economic growth in the PRC, including the government’s efforts to cool the PRC’s housing market and disruptions caused by COVID-19, leading to reduced consumer discretionary budget and ultimately affecting their spending on travel and leisure. Moreover, the PRC’s common prosperity drive which started in 2021 aims to narrow the nation’s wealth gap by reducing wealth inequality. Any changes in the income tax rate or government policy which discourages conspicuous consumption may affect the spending patterns of our patrons. All of these measures as well as a number of measures taken by the PRC government in recent years to control the rate of economic growth, including those designed to tighten credit and liquidity, may have contributed to a slowdown of the PRC’s economy. According to preliminary estimates from the National Bureau of Statistics of China, the PRC’s GDP growth rate was 3.0% in 2022, which was lower than the 8.4% in 2021. Any slowdown in the PRC’s future growth may have an adverse impact on financial markets, currency exchange rates and other economies, as well as the spending of visitors in Macau and Studio City. There is no guarantee that economic downturns, whether actual or perceived, any further decrease in economic growth rates or an otherwise uncertain economic outlook in the PRC will not occur or persist in the future, that they will not be protracted or that governments will respond adequately to control and reverse such conditions, any of which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

In addition, the global macroeconomic environment is facing significant challenges, including disruptions to global economic conditions as a result of the responses to the global COVID-19 outbreaks, and dampened business sentiment and outlook. These events have also caused significant declines as well as volatility in global equity and debt capital markets, further elevating the risk of an extended global economic downturn or even a global recession that could in turn trigger a severe contraction of liquidity in the global credit markets. Even prior to these events, the global economy was facing the end of quantitative easing by the U.S. Federal Reserve, the continuation of international trade conflicts, including the trade disputes between the United States and China and the potential further escalation of trade tariffs and related retaliatory measures between these two countries and globally. Even though it recently eased its “zero Covid” policy, the PRC government may re-impose lockdown or travel restriction measures in response to COVID-19 outbreaks or the outbreak of another contagious disease. Such measures, if re-imposed, may significantly affect visitations to our property and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

Tensions between the United States and China have continued to escalate since 2020 in connection with ongoing trade disputes as well as other political factors, including COVID-19 outbreaks and the status of Hong Kong. Continued rising political tensions globally could reduce levels of trade, investment, technological exchanges and other economic activities between these two major economies, which would have a material adverse effect on global economic conditions and the stability of global financial markets. The introduction of the National Security Law for Hong Kong and the U.S. Department of State’s statements in reaction to it have resulted in a further deterioration in the Sino-U.S. bilateral relationship, which could negatively affect the Chinese economy and its demand for gaming and leisure activities.

Rising inflation rates globally and in places where we operate may not only weaken discretionary spending of our customers but also increase our operating costs due to possible hikes in salary payments for our staff or key expenditures in our business. Interest rate hikes from one or more central banks across the world to address inflation or other macroeconomic factors would increase the cost of credit throughout global economies, impacting cashflows for both businesses and consumers as they spend more on interest payments which, in turn, reduces the amount available for capital investments and for discretionary consumption. The sell-off in Chinese property bonds has also negatively impacted the market for high yield bonds of issuers in other sectors connected with the PRC, including those issued by Macau gaming operators and associated entities. Other factors affecting discretionary consumer spending, including amounts of disposable consumer income, fears of recession, lack of consumer confidence in the economy, change in consumer preferences, high energy, fuel and other commodity

 

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costs and increased cost of travel may negatively impact our business. An extended period of reduced discretionary spending and/or disruptions or declines in airline travel have had and could materially adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

Considerable uncertainty remains over the long-term effects of the expansionary monetary and fiscal policies adopted by the central banks and financial authorities of some of the world’s leading economies, including the United States and the PRC. There have been concerns over conflicts, unrest and terrorist threats in the Ukraine, Middle East, Europe and Africa, including the continuing military conflict between Russia and Ukraine has led to sanctions and export controls being imposed by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and other countries targeting Russia, its financial system and major financial institutions and certain Russian entities and persons. Such sanctions and measures have had and may continue to have a negative impact on our business and our ability to accept certain customers. The conflict has also caused volatility in global financial markets as well as rising prices in oil, gas and other commodities. In addition, concerns over conflicts involving the United States and Iran and potential conflicts involving the Korean peninsula persist. Any severe or prolonged slowdown in the global economy or increase in international trade or political conflicts may materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition. In addition, continued turbulence in the international markets may adversely affect our ability to access capital markets to meet liquidity needs.

Studio City Casino’s operations could be adversely affected by foreign exchange restrictions on the Renminbi.

Gaming operators in Macau are currently prohibited from accepting wagers in Renminbi, the currency of the PRC. There are currently restrictions on the export of the Renminbi outside of the PRC, including to Macau. For example, a PRC citizen traveling abroad is only allowed to take a total of RMB20,000 (US$2,889) plus the equivalent of up to US$5,000 out of the PRC. Moreover, an annual limit of RMB100,000 (US$14,443) on the aggregate amount that can be withdrawn overseas from PRC bank accounts was set by the PRC government, with effect on January 1, 2018. In addition, the PRC government’s ongoing anti-corruption campaign has led to tighter monetary transfer regulations, including real-time monitoring of certain financial channels, reducing the amount that PRC-issued ATM cardholders can withdraw in each withdrawal, imposing a limit on the annual aggregate amount that may be withdrawn and the launch of facial recognition and identity card checks with respect to certain ATM users, which could disrupt the amount of money visitors can bring from mainland China to Macau. Furthermore, the Macau government has launched identity card checks with respect to certain ATM users and recommended banks perform adequate due diligence and monitoring of merchants with respect to usage of point-of-sales machines, such as cash registers where a customer is charged for goods or services purchased. These measures may limit liquidity availability and curb capital outflows. In addition, all individuals entering Macau with an amount in cash or negotiable instrument to the bearer equal to or higher than the amount of MOP120,000 (US$14,918) as determined by the Chief Executive of Macau are required to declare such amount to the customs authorities. For further details, please refer to “Item 4. Information on the Company — B. Business Overview — Regulations — Control of Cross-border Transportation of Cash Regulations.” The adoption of digital currency by the Chinese government may also cause more restrictions on the export of the Renminbi out of the PRC, which may impede the flow of customers from the PRC to Macau, inhibit the growth of gaming in Macau and negatively impact the operation of Studio City Casino.

Policies, campaigns and measures adopted by the PRC and/or Macau governments from time to time could materially and adversely affect our operations.

Our operating results may be adversely affected by:

 

   

tightening of travel restrictions to Macau or from the PRC, including due to the outbreak of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19 outbreaks;

 

   

austerity measures which may be imposed by the PRC government;

 

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changes in government policies, laws and regulations, or in the interpretation or enforcement of these policies, laws and regulations;

 

   

changes in cross-border fund transfer and/or foreign exchange regulations or policies effected by the PRC and/or Macau governments;

 

   

measures taken by the PRC government to deter marketing of gaming activities to mainland Chinese residents by offshore casinos;

 

   

measures that may be introduced to control inflation, such as interest rate increases or bank account withdrawal controls; and

 

   

changes in the rate or method of taxation by the Macau government.

A significant number of the customers of Studio City Casino come from, and are expected to continue to come from, the PRC. Any travel restrictions imposed by the PRC, such as the travel restrictions imposed due to COVID-19 outbreaks, could negatively affect the number of patrons visiting Studio City from the PRC. Since mid-2003, under the Individual Visit Scheme, or IVS, PRC citizens from certain cities have been able to travel to Macau individually instead of as part of a tour group. In mid-2008 through 2010, the PRC government adjusted its visa policy and limited the number of visits PRC citizens may make to Macau in a given time period. The PRC also banned “zero fare tours,” popular among visitors to Macau from the PRC, whereby travelers avail the services of tour guides at minimal or no cost if they agree to shop in designated areas in exchange. Further, in 2014, the PRC government and the Macau government tightened visa transit policies for mainland China residents. Starting on July 1, 2014, the Macau government has tightened transit visa rule implementation, limiting such travelers to a five-day stay, with documented proof that they were going to a third destination. From July 2015, Macau eased the restrictions and again allowed mainland Chinese passport holders who transit via the city to stay for up to seven days. While the PRC government has restricted and then loosened IVS travel frequently, it has recently indicated its intention to maintain tourism development by opening the IVS to more PRC cities to visit Macau. In March 2016, for instance, the Ministry of Public Security of China announced a new practice to make it easier for some mainland Chinese citizens to apply for the IVS visa. It is unclear whether these and other measures will continue to be in effect or become more restrictive in the future. For instance, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, the PRC government suspended the issuance of group and individual travel visas from the PRC to Macau. The IVS program was resumed by the PRC government on September 23, 2020, with e-Visa applications being accepted from November 1, 2022. A decrease in the number of visitors from the PRC could adversely affect Studio City’s results of operations.

In addition, certain policies and campaigns implemented by the PRC government may lead to a decline in the number of patrons visiting Studio City and the amount of spending by such patrons. The strength and profitability of our business depends on consumer demand for integrated resorts in general and for the type of luxury amenities that a gaming operator offers. Initiatives and campaigns undertaken by the PRC government in recent years have resulted in an overall dampening effect on the behavior of PRC consumers and a decrease in their spending, particularly in luxury good sales and other discretionary spending. For example, the PRC government’s ongoing anti-corruption campaign has had an overall dampening effect on the behavior of PRC consumers and their spending patterns both domestically and abroad. In addition, the number of patrons visiting Studio City may be affected by the PRC government’s focus on deterring marketing of gaming to mainland Chinese citizens by casinos and its initiatives to tighten monetary transfer regulations, increase monitoring of various transactions, including bank or credit card transactions, reduce the amount that PRC-issued ATM cardholders can withdraw in each withdrawal and impose a limit on the annual aggregate amount that may be withdrawn. For example, certain staff of a foreign casino were convicted in the PRC in connection with gaming-related promotional activities in the PRC which created regulatory uncertainty on marketing activities in the PRC. More recently, amendments to the PRC’s criminal laws, which provide that anyone that organizes trips for PRC citizens for the purpose of gambling outside of mainland China, including Macau, may be deemed to have conducted a criminal act, came into effect on March 1, 2021. Furthermore, in November 2021, the Court of Final Appeal in Macau issued a final unappealable decision that a gaming operator is jointly liable with a gaming

 

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promoter for the refund of funds deposited with such gaming promoter and the Macau authorities arrested executives from a gaming promoter for alleged illegal overseas gaming related activities. In January 2022, the Macau authorities also arrested an executive from another gaming promoter and certain related individuals and certain of these individuals were sentenced to jail terms in addition to the payment of monetary compensation to the Macau government in January 2023. The PRC government has also developed its digital currency and has performed certain test trials in its application within mainland China. If a digital currency is adopted by the Macau government for gaming operations in Macau, there could be a material and adverse impact on Studio City Casino’s VIP rolling chip operations if limitations on transactions per player are also introduced in conjunction with the adoption of the digital currency. A wide interpretation, application or enforcement of these laws and regulations by the PRC governmental authorities could have a material and adverse effect on our business and prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

Our operations in Macau are also exposed to the risk of changes in laws and policies that govern operations of Macau-based companies. Tax laws and regulations may also be subject to amendments or different interpretations and implementation, thereby adversely affecting our profitability after tax. For example, the newly amended Macau gaming law requires the payment of a special premium if gross gaming revenue falls below the gross gaming revenue threshold set by the Macau government. As Studio City Entertainment is expected to fund such premium for the operation of Studio City Casino, increased premium could have a material adverse effect on the results of our operations and financial condition. Significantly increased regulatory scrutiny of gaming promoters in Macau has resulted, and may continue to result, in the cessation of business of many gaming promoters. In December 2021, the Gaming Operator terminated the arrangements with gaming promoters in Macau, including at Studio City Casino.

Changes in law, regulations and policies in the PRC and uncertainties in the legal systems in the PRC may expose us to risks. In addition, rules and regulations in the PRC can change quickly with little advance notice.

We are based in and have all of our operations in Hong Kong and Macau. In addition, as a significant number of our customers come from, and are expected to continue to come from, the PRC, our results of operations and financial condition may be materially and adversely affected by significant regulatory developments not only in Macau but also in the PRC. Gaming related activities in the PRC, including marketing activities, are strictly regulated by the PRC government and subject to various PRC laws and regulations. The PRC legal system continues to rapidly evolve and the interpretations of many laws, regulations and rules are not always uniform. Rules and regulations in the PRC can change quickly with little advance notice. In addition, the PRC legal system is based in part on government policies and internal rules, some of which are not published on a timely basis or at all. As a result, we may not be aware of all policies and rules imposed by the PRC authorities which may affect or relate to our business and operations. There is also no assurance that our interpretation of the laws and regulations that affect our activities in the PRC is or will be consistent with the interpretation and application by the PRC governmental authorities. These uncertainties may impede our ability to assess our legal rights or risks relating to our business and activities. Any changes in the laws and regulations, or in the interpretation or enforcement of these laws and regulations, which affect gaming-related activities in the PRC could require additional expenditures and efforts on our part to ensure our compliance with such regulations or interpretations and have a material and adverse effect on our business and prospects, financial condition and results of operations. We may incur penalties for any failure to comply with PRC laws and regulations.

In addition, PRC administrative and court authorities have significant discretion in interpreting and implementing statutory terms. Such discretion of the PRC administrative and court authorities increases the uncertainties in the PRC legal system and makes it difficult to evaluate the likely outcome of any administrative and court proceedings in the PRC and the level of legal protection we enjoy than in other legal systems. Any litigation or proceedings in the PRC may be protracted and result in substantial costs and diversion of our resources and management attention. Any such litigation or proceedings could have a material adverse effect on our business, reputation, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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The PRC government may influence our operations in Macau or elsewhere or intervene in our offerings conducted overseas or foreign investments in us. Its oversight and discretion over our business could result in material adverse changes in our operations and the value of our ordinary shares and ADSs.

The Chinese government has exercised and continues to exercise substantial control over virtually every sector of the Chinese economy through regulation and state ownership. The PRC may also intervene or influence our operations in Macau or elsewhere at any time as the PRC government deems appropriate to further regulatory, political and societal goals, or may exert more control over offerings conducted overseas and/or foreign investment in PRC-based issuers, which could result in a material change in our operations and/or the value of our ordinary shares. Additionally, given recent statements by the Chinese government indicating an intent to exert more oversight and control over offerings that are conducted overseas and/or foreign investment in China-based issuers, any such action could significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to offer or continue to offer securities to investors and cause the value of our securities to significantly decline or be worthless. See also “— Risks Relating to Our Business — Failure to protect the integrity and security of company staff, supplier and customer information and comply with cybersecurity, data privacy, data protection or any other laws and regulations related to data may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations, and/or result in damage to reputation and/or subject us to fines, penalties, lawsuits, restrictions on our use or transfer of data and other risks” for discussions relating to the PRC Data Security Law.

If (i) we inadvertently conclude that certain regulatory permissions and approvals are not required or (ii) applicable laws, regulations, or interpretations change in a way that requires us to complete such filings or obtain such approvals in the future, and (iii) we are required to obtain such permissions or approvals in the future, but fail to receive or maintain such permissions or approvals, we may face sanctions by the CSRC, the CAC or other PRC regulatory agencies. These regulatory agencies may impose fines and penalties on us, limit our operations, limit our ability to pay dividends outside of China, limit our ability to list on stock exchanges outside of China or offer our securities to foreign investors or take other actions that could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects, as well as the trading price of our securities.

Terrorism, violent criminal acts, the uncertainty of war, widespread health epidemics or pandemics, political developments and other factors affecting discretionary consumer spending and leisure travel may reduce visitation to Macau and harm our operating results.

The strength and profitability of our business will depend on consumer demand for integrated resorts and leisure travel in general. Terrorist and violent criminal activities in Europe, the United States, Southeast Asia and elsewhere, military conflicts between Russia and Ukraine, military conflicts in the Middle East, social events and natural disasters such as typhoons, tsunamis and earthquakes, and outbreaks of widespread health epidemics or pandemics, including COVID-19 outbreaks, among other things, have negatively affected travel and leisure expenditures. Terrorism, other criminal acts of violence or social events and widespread health epidemics or pandemics could have a negative impact on international travel and leisure expenditures, including lodging, gaming and tourism. We cannot predict the extent to which such acts may affect us, directly or indirectly, in the future. See also “— Risks Relating to Our Business — COVID-19 outbreaks have had an adverse effect on our operations, which has had a significant negative effect over the past three years and may continue to materially impact our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations,” “— Risks Relating to Conducting Business and Operating in Macau — An outbreak of widespread health epidemics or pandemics, contagious disease or other outbreaks may have an adverse effect on the economies of affected countries or regions and may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations” and “— Risks relating to Our Business — Economic or trade sanctions and a heightened trend towards trade and technology “de-coupling” could negatively affect the relationships and collaborations with our suppliers, service providers, technology partners and other business partners, which could materially and adversely affect our competitiveness and business operations.”

 

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In addition, other factors affecting discretionary consumer spending, including amounts of disposable consumer income, fears of recession, lack of consumer confidence in the economy, change in consumer preferences, high energy, fuel and other commodity costs and increased cost of travel may negatively impact our business. An extended period of reduced discretionary spending and/or disruptions or declines in airline travel could materially adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

An outbreak of widespread health epidemics or pandemics, contagious disease or other outbreaks may have an adverse effect on the economies of affected countries or regions and may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our operations could be, and in certain cases, such as COVID-19 outbreaks, have been adversely affected by the outbreak of widespread health epidemics or pandemics, such as swine flu, avian influenza, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), Zika and Ebola. The occurrence of such health epidemics or pandemics, prolonged outbreak of an epidemic illness or other adverse public health developments in the PRC or elsewhere in the world could materially disrupt our business and operations. Such events could significantly impact our industry and cause severe travel restrictions between the PRC and Macau as well as temporary or prolonged closures of the facilities we use for our operations and disruptions to public transportation, which could severely disrupt our operations and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Such events may also indirectly and materially adversely impact our operations by negatively impacting the outlook, growth or business sentiment in the global, regional or local economy. See also “— Risks Relating to Our Business — COVID-19 outbreaks have had an adverse effect on our operations, which has had a significant negative effect over the past three years and may continue to materially impact our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.”

Several countries, including Japan, South Korea and Vietnam, have registered cases of avian flu since the end of 2020. Fully effective avian flu vaccines have not been developed and there is evidence that the H5N1 virus is constantly evolving so we cannot assure you that an effective vaccine can be discovered or commercially manufactured in time to protect against the potential avian flu pandemic.

In addition to the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19, there can be no assurance that an outbreak of swine flu, avian influenza, SARS, MERS, Zika, Ebola or other contagious disease or any measures taken by the governments of affected countries against such potential outbreaks will not seriously interrupt our gaming operations. The perception that an outbreak of any health epidemic or contagious disease may occur may also have an adverse effect on the economic conditions of countries in Asia. In addition, our operations could be disrupted if any of our facilities or employees or others involved in our operations were suspected of having COVID-19, swine flu, avian influenza, SARS, MERS, Zika or Ebola as this could require us to quarantine some or all of such employees or persons or disinfect the facilities used for our operations. Furthermore, any future outbreak may restrict economic activities in affected regions, which could result in reduced business volume and the temporary closure of our facilities or otherwise disrupt our business operations and adversely affect our results of operations. Our revenues and profitability could be materially reduced to the extent that a health epidemic or other outbreak harms the PRC or global economy in general.

Macau is susceptible to typhoons and heavy rainstorms that may damage our property and disrupt our operations.

Macau’s subtropical climate and location on the South China Sea renders it susceptible to typhoons, heavy rainstorms and other natural disasters. In the event of a major typhoon, such as Typhoon Hato in August 2017, Typhoon Mangkhut in September 2018 or other natural disaster in Macau, Studio City may be severely damaged, our operations may be materially and adversely affected and Studio City Casino may even be required to temporarily cease operations by regulatory authorities. Any flooding, unscheduled cessation of operations, interruption in the technology or transportation services or interruption in the supply of public utilities is likely to result in an immediate, and possibly substantial, loss of revenues due to a shutdown of Studio City, including

 

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operations at Studio City Casino. Although we benefit from certain insurance coverage with respect to these events, our coverage may not be sufficient to fully indemnify us against all direct and indirect costs, including loss of business, which could result from substantial damage to, or partial or complete destruction of, Studio City or other damages to the infrastructure or economy of Macau.

Risks Relating to Our Shares and ADSs

We are a Cayman Islands holding company. Our sole material asset is our equity interest in MSC Cotai and we will be accordingly dependent upon distributions from MSC Cotai to pay dividends and cover our corporate and other expenses.

We are a Cayman Islands holding company and have no material assets other than our equity interest in MSC Cotai. We have also undertaken that we will not own equity interests in any other entity other than MSC Cotai and that we will contribute to MSC Cotai all net proceeds received by us from sales of equity securities and sales of assets. Please see “Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions — B. Related Party Transactions — Pre-IPO Organizational Transactions.” Because we will have no independent means of generating revenue, our ability to pay dividends, if any, and cover our corporate and other expenses is dependent on the ability of MSC Cotai to generate revenue to pay such dividends and expenses. This ability, in turn, may depend on the ability of MSC Cotai’s subsidiaries to make distributions to it. The ability of MSC Cotai and its subsidiaries to make such distributions will be subject to, among other things, (i) the applicable laws and regulations of the relevant jurisdictions that may limit the amount of funds available for distribution, (ii) restrictions in the Participation Agreement or relevant debt instruments issued by MSC Cotai or its subsidiaries in which it directly or indirectly holds an equity interest and (iii) the availability of funds to distribute. For example, if COVID-19 outbreaks continue to disrupt our operations or escalates, it may have a material adverse effect on the availability of funds for MSC Cotai and its subsidiaries to distribute. To the extent that we need funds and MSC Cotai or its subsidiaries are restricted from making such distributions or payments under applicable law or regulation or under the terms of any financing arrangements, or are otherwise unable to provide such funds, our liquidity and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected. In addition, we are not a Chinese operating company and investors may never directly hold equity interests in our operating subsidiaries. This organizational structure involves unique risks to investors, including the possibility of Chinese or Macau regulatory authorities disallowing our organizational structure, which would likely result in a material change in our operations and/or value of our ADSs making them significantly decline or worthless.

Participation by certain of our principal shareholders in our equity offerings has reduced the available public float for our ADSs.

MCO Cotai, our controlling shareholder, and certain funds managed by Silver Point Capital, L.P., one of our principal shareholders, participated in our initial public offering and were allocated 25,550,000 ADSs, or 77.3%, of the total amount of ADSs offered in our initial public offering at the initial public offering price. In addition, MCO Cotai, New Cotai and certain funds managed by Silver Point Capital, L.P. also participated in the series of private offers we announced in July 2020 and February 2022 and purchased 121,304,652 Class A shares and 369,645,292 Class A shares, respectively, or 94.4% and 92.4% of the total amount of Class A shares purchased in such offerings. See “Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions — A. Major Shareholders.”

Such purchases and ownership reduced the otherwise available public float for our ADSs and the liquidity of our ADSs relative to what it would have been had these ADSs been purchased by other investors and thereby may adversely impact the trading price of our ADSs.

 

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We may be unable to remain in compliance with the New York Stock Exchange requirements for continued listing and as a result our ADSs may be delisted from trading on the New York Stock Exchange, which would have a material effect on us and the liquidity of our ADSs and Class A ordinary shares.

On February 20, 2020, we announced that we received a notice from the New York Stock Exchange notifying us that we were not in compliance with Section 802.01A of the New York Stock Exchange Listed Company Manual, or the NYSE Manual, which requires the number of total shareholders of the Company’s capital stock be no less than 400 shareholders, or the NYSE Notice. Pursuant to the NYSE Notice, the Company became subject to the procedures set forth in Sections 801 and 802 of the NYSE Manual and was requested to submit a business plan within 90 days of receipt of the NYSE Notice that demonstrated how we expected to return to compliance with the minimum total shareholder requirement within a maximum period of 18 months of receipt of the notice.

In accordance with the timing requirement under the NYSE Notice, we submitted a business plan in May 2020, or the NYSE Business Plan. On July 2, 2020, we were notified the NYSE Business Plan was accepted by the New York Stock Exchange. In such notification, the New York Stock Exchange also notified us that we were not in compliance with the requirement under Section 802.01A of the NYSE Manual which requires the number of total shareholders of the Company’s capital stock to be no less than 1,200 shareholders if the average monthly volume of its ADSs is less than 100,000 for the most recent 12 months, or the Additional NYSE Non-Compliance, and subject to the procedures set forth in Sections 801 and 802 of the NYSE Manual for the Additional NYSE Non-Compliance. The NYSE Business Plan addressed both the non-compliance contained in the NYSE Notice and the Additional NYSE Non-Compliance.

On May 7, 2021, the NYSE notified the Company that it had regained compliance with the continued listing requirement contained in the initial NYSE Notice. Subsequently on July 30, 2021, the NYSE further notified the Company that it had regained compliance with the Additional NYSE Non-Compliance.

We cannot assure you that we can or will continually adhere to all of the continued listing requirements of the New York Stock Exchange, including those required to maintain our listing on the New York Stock Exchange, or that the New York Stock Exchange will not take any other action in the course of monitoring our compliance with the continued listing requirements of the New York Stock Exchange. If we are delisted from the New York Stock Exchange, our ADSs or ordinary shares may be eligible for trading on an over-the-counter market in the United States. In the event that we are not able to obtain a listing on another U.S. stock exchange or quotation service for our ADSs, it may be extremely difficult for holders of our ADSs and shareholders to sell their ADSs or ordinary shares. Moreover, if our ADSs are delisted from the New York Stock Exchange but listed elsewhere, it will likely be on a market with less liquidity and more price volatility than experienced on the New York Stock Exchange. Holders of our ADSs and our shareholders may not be able to sell their ADSs or ordinary shares on any such substitute market in the quantities, at the times or at the prices that could potentially be available on a more liquid trading market. In addition, following a delisting from the New York Stock Exchange, as direct or indirect holders of 5% or more of our shares are subject to suitability and financial capacity reviews by the DICJ, any direct or indirect sales of our ADSs or ordinary shares representing 5% or more of our outstanding share capital may require prior approval by the Macau government. See “Item 4. Information on the Company — B. Business Overview — Regulations — Gaming Operation Regulations” and “Item 4. Information on the Company — B. Business Overview — The Gaming Operator’s Concession.” As a result of these factors, if our ADSs are delisted from the New York Stock Exchange, the price and liquidity of our ADSs and ordinary shares may be materially and adversely affected.

The trading price of our ADSs has been volatile since our ADSs began trading on The New York Stock Exchange and may be subject to fluctuations in the future, which could result in substantial losses to investors.

The trading price of our ADSs has been and may continue to be subject to wide fluctuations. Since our listing on October 18, 2018 to March 24, 2023, the trading prices of our ADSs ranged from US$1.52 to US$28.59 per ADS and the closing sale price on March 24, 2023 was US$6.19 per ADS. The trading price of our

 

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ADSs may be volatile and could fluctuate widely due to factors beyond our control. This may happen because of broad market and industry factors, including the performance and fluctuation of the market prices of other companies with business operations located mainly in Macau or the PRC that have listed their securities in the United States. In addition to market and industry factors, the price and trading volume for our ADSs may be highly volatile for factors specific to our own operations, including the following:

 

   

limited public float of our ADSs;

 

   

developments in the Macau market or other Asian gaming markets, including disruptions caused by widespread health epidemics or pandemics, such as COVID-19 outbreaks;

 

   

uncertainties or delays relating to the opening of our Phase 2 project for Studio City;

 

   

international political tensions, including between China and the U.S., and policies and/or legislation which may be proposed and/or enacted in relation to such tensions;

 

   

general economic, political or other factors that may affect Macau, where Studio City is located and/or the macroeconomic environment, including COVID-19 outbreaks or any other global pandemic or crisis;

 

   

changes in the economic performance or market valuations of the gaming and leisure industry companies;

 

   

changes in the Gaming Operator’s market share of the Macau gaming market;

 

   

regulatory developments affecting us or our competitors;

 

   

actual or anticipated fluctuations in our quarterly or annual operating results;

 

   

announcements of new investments, acquisitions, strategic partnerships, joint ventures or divestments by us or our competitors;

 

   

changes in financial estimates by securities analysts;

 

   

detrimental adverse publicity about us, Studio City or our industries;

 

   

additions or departures of key personnel;

 

   

fluctuations in the exchange rates between the U.S. dollar, H.K. dollar, Pataca and Renminbi;

 

   

release or expiration of lock-up or other transfer restrictions on our outstanding equity securities or sales of additional equity securities;

 

   

sales or perceived sales of additional shares or ADSs or securities convertible or exchangeable or exercisable for shares or ADSs;

 

   

potential litigation or regulatory investigations; and

 

   

rumors related to any of the above, irrespective of their veracity.

In addition, the securities market has from time to time experienced significant price and volume fluctuations that are not related to the operating performance of particular companies. For example, in connection with COVID-19 outbreaks, securities markets across the globe have experienced significant volatility. These market fluctuations may also have a material adverse effect on the market price of our ADSs.

In the past, shareholders of public companies have often brought securities class action suits against those companies following periods of instability in the market price of their securities. If we were involved in a class action suit, it could divert a significant amount of our management’s attention and other resources from our business and operations and require us to incur significant expenses to defend the suit, which could harm our results of operations. Any such class action suit, whether or not successful, could harm our reputation and restrict our ability to raise capital in the future. In addition, if a claim is successfully made against us, we may be required to pay significant damages, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

 

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If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or reports about our business, or if they adversely change their recommendations regarding our ADSs, the market price for our ADSs and trading volume could decline.

The trading market for our ADSs depends in part on the research and reports that securities or industry analysts publish about us or our business. If research analysts do not establish and maintain adequate research coverage or if one or more of the analysts who covers us downgrades our ADSs or publishes inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, the market price for our ADSs would likely decline. If one or more of these analysts cease coverage of our Company or fail to publish reports on us regularly, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which, in turn, could cause the market price or trading volume for our ADSs to decline.

Techniques employed by short sellers may drive down the market price of our ADSs.

Short selling is the practice of selling securities that the seller does not own but rather has borrowed from a third party with the intention of buying identical securities back at a later date to return to the lender. The short seller hopes to profit from a decline in the value of the securities between the sale of the borrowed securities and the purchase of the replacement shares, as the short seller expects to pay less in that purchase than it received in the sale. As it is in the short seller’s interest for the price of the security to decline, many short sellers publish, or arrange for the publication of, negative opinions regarding the relevant issuer and its business prospects in order to create negative market momentum and generate profits for themselves after selling a security short. These short attacks have, in the past, led to selling of shares in the market.

Public companies that have substantially all of their operations in Greater China have been the subject of short selling. Much of the scrutiny and negative publicity has centered on allegations of a lack of effective internal control over financial reporting resulting in financial and accounting irregularities and mistakes, inadequate corporate governance policies or a lack of adherence thereto and, in many cases, allegations of fraud. As a result, many of these companies are now conducting internal and external investigations into the allegations and, in the interim, are subject to shareholder lawsuits and/or SEC enforcement actions.

It is not clear what effect such negative publicity could have on us. If we were to become the subject of any unfavorable allegations, whether such allegations are proven to be true or untrue, we could have to expend a significant amount of resources to investigate such allegations and/or defend ourselves. While we would strongly defend against any such short seller attacks, we may be constrained in the manner in which we can proceed against the relevant short seller by principles of freedom of speech, applicable law or issues of commercial confidentiality. Such a situation could be costly and time-consuming and could distract our management from growing our business. Even if such allegations are ultimately proven to be groundless, allegations against us could severely impact our business operations, and any investment in our ADSs could be greatly reduced or even rendered worthless.

Holders of ADSs have fewer rights than shareholders and must act through the depositary to exercise those rights.

Holders of ADSs do not have the same rights of our shareholders and may only exercise the voting rights with respect to the underlying Class A ordinary shares of the depositary and in accordance with the provisions of the deposit agreement. Advance notice of at least seven days is required for the convening of our annual general meeting and other shareholders meetings. When a general meeting is convened, you may not receive sufficient notice of a shareholders’ meeting to permit you to withdraw Class A ordinary shares represented by your ADSs to allow you to cast your vote with respect to any specific matter. In addition, the depositary and its agents may not be able to send voting instructions to you or carry out your voting instructions in a timely manner. We will make all reasonable efforts to cause the depositary to extend voting rights to you in a timely manner, but we cannot assure you that you will receive the voting materials in time to ensure that you can instruct the depositary to vote your ADSs. The depositary and its agents will not be responsible for any failure to

 

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carry out any instructions to vote, for the manner in which any vote is cast or for the effect of any such vote. As a result, you may not be able to exercise your right to vote and you may lack recourse if your ADSs are not voted as you requested. In addition, in your capacity as an ADS holder, you will not be able to convene a shareholder meeting.

Your rights to pursue claims against the depositary as a holder of ADSs are limited by the terms of the deposit agreement. In addition, parties to the Participation Agreement have agreed to resolve any disputes by arbitration.

As a holder of our ADSs, you are a party to the deposit agreement under which our ADSs are issued. Under the deposit agreement, any action or proceeding against or involving the depositary arising out of or based upon the deposit agreement or the transactions contemplated thereby or by virtue of you owning the ADSs may only be instituted in a state or federal court in New York, New York. In addition, under the deposit agreement, you, as a holder of our ADSs, will have irrevocably waived any objection which you may have to the laying of venue of any such proceeding and irrevocably submitted to the exclusive jurisdiction of such courts in any such action or proceeding. The depositary may, however, in its sole discretion, require that any dispute or difference arising from the relationship created by the deposit agreement be referred to and finally settled by an arbitration proceeding to be conducted under the terms described in the deposit agreement, which may include claims arising under the U.S. federal securities laws and claims not in connection with our initial public offering, although the arbitration provisions do not preclude you from pursuing claims under the U.S. federal securities laws in federal courts. Furthermore, we may amend or terminate the deposit agreement without your consent. If you continue to hold your ADSs after an amendment to the deposit agreement, you agree to be bound by the terms and subject to the conditions of the deposit agreement as amended.

In addition, the Participation Agreement, pursuant to which MSC Cotai granted the Participation Interest to New Cotai, provides that all disputes arising out of the Participation Agreement must be resolved through arbitration proceedings subject to certain limited exceptions and such provision will affect the manner by which New Cotai or any other parties to the Participation Agreement may pursue any claim or action arising out of the Participation Agreement. For more information, see “Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions — B. Related Party Transactions — Pre-IPO Organizational Transactions — Participation Agreement.”

ADSs holders may not be entitled to a jury trial with respect to claims arising under the deposit agreement, which could result in less favorable outcomes to the plaintiff(s) in any such action.

The deposit agreement governing the ADSs representing our Class A ordinary shares provides that, subject to the depositary’s right to require a claim to be submitted to arbitration, the federal or state courts in the City of New York have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine claims arising under the deposit agreement and in that regard, to the fullest extent permitted by law, ADS holders waive the right to a jury trial of any claim they may have against us or the depositary arising out of or relating to our shares, the ADSs or the deposit agreement, including any claim under the U.S. federal securities laws.

If we or the depositary opposed a jury trial demand based on the waiver, the court would determine whether the waiver was enforceable based on the facts and circumstances of that case in accordance with applicable state and federal law. The enforceability of a contractual pre-dispute jury trial waiver in connection with claims arising under the U.S. federal securities laws has not been finally adjudicated by the United States Supreme Court. However, based on past court decisions, we believe that a contractual pre-dispute jury trial waiver provision is generally enforceable, including under the laws of the State of New York, which govern the deposit agreement. In determining whether to enforce a contractual pre-dispute jury trial waiver provision, courts will generally consider whether a party knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily waived the right to a jury trial. We believe that this is the case with respect to the deposit agreement and the ADSs. It is advisable that you consult legal counsel regarding the jury waiver provision before investing in the ADSs.

 

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If you or any other holders or beneficial owners of ADSs bring a claim against us or the depositary in connection with matters arising under the deposit agreement or the ADSs, including claims under the U.S. federal securities laws, you or such other holder or beneficial owner may not be entitled to a jury trial with respect to such claims, which may have the effect of limiting and discouraging lawsuits against us and/or the depositary. If a lawsuit is brought against us and/or the depositary under the deposit agreement, it may be heard only by a judge or justice of the applicable trial court, which would be conducted according to different civil procedures and may result in different outcomes than a trial by jury would have had, including results that could be less favorable to the plaintiff(s) in any such action.

Nevertheless, if this jury trial waiver provision is not enforced, to the extent a court action proceeds, it would proceed under the terms of the deposit agreement as a jury trial.

Your right to participate in any future rights offerings may be limited, which may cause dilution to your holdings, and you may not receive cash dividends if it is unlawful or impractical to make them available to you.

We may, from time to time, distribute rights to our shareholders, including rights to acquire our securities. However, we cannot make rights available to you in the United States unless we register the rights and the securities to which the rights relate under the Securities Act of 1933, or the Securities Act, or an exemption from the registration requirements is available. Also, under the deposit agreement, the depositary bank will not make rights available to you unless the distribution to ADS holders of both the rights and any related securities are either registered under the Securities Act, or exempted from registration under the Securities Act. We are under no obligation to file a registration statement with respect to any such rights or securities or to endeavor to cause such a registration statement to be declared effective. Moreover, we may not be able to establish an exemption from registration under the Securities Act. Accordingly, you may be unable to participate in our rights offerings and may experience dilution in your holdings.

In addition, the depositary of our ADSs has agreed to pay to you the cash dividends or other distributions it or the custodian receives on our Class A ordinary shares or other deposited securities after deducting its fees and expenses. You will receive these distributions in proportion to the number of Class A ordinary shares your ADSs represent. However, the depositary may, at its discretion, decide that it is unlawful, inequitable or impractical to make a distribution available to any holders of ADSs. For example, it would be unlawful to make a distribution to a holder of ADSs if it consists of securities that require registration under the Securities Act but that are not properly registered or distributed under an applicable exemption from registration. Also, the depositary may determine that it is not practicable to distribute certain property through the mail, or that the value of certain distributions may be less than the cost of mailing them. In these cases, the depositary may decide not to distribute such property and you will not receive such distribution. Except as otherwise provided under the Registration Rights Agreement, we have no obligation to register under U.S. securities laws any ADSs, Class A ordinary shares, rights or other securities received through such distributions. See “Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions — B. Related Party Transactions — Registration Rights Agreement.” We also have no obligation to take any other action to permit the distribution of ADSs, Class A ordinary shares, rights or anything else to holders of ADSs.

Substantial future sales or perceived potential sales of our ADSs, ordinary shares or other equity securities in the public market could cause the price of our ADSs to decline significantly.

As of December 31, 2022, New Cotai owned 31,149,140 ADSs, representing approximately a 14.8% voting and economic interest in our Company, and 72,511,760 Class B ordinary shares, representing approximately a 8.6% voting, non-economic interest in our Company. New Cotai also has a Participation Interest, which entitles New Cotai to receive from MSC Cotai an amount equal to approximately 9.4% of the amount of any distribution, dividend or other consideration paid by MSC Cotai to us, subject to adjustments, exceptions and conditions. Under the Participation Agreement, New Cotai and its permitted transferees will be

 

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entitled to exchange its Participation Interest for Class A ordinary shares. We have granted registration rights with respect to the Class A ordinary shares delivered in exchange for Participation Interests. See “Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions — B. Related Party Transactions — Pre-IPO Organizational Transactions” and “— Registration Rights Agreement.”

In addition, certain funds managed by Silver Point Capital, L.P., as of December 31, 2022, beneficially owned 114,020,172 Class A ordinary shares in the form of ADSs, representing 13.5% of our outstanding ordinary shares, while Melco International beneficially owned 463,095,592 Class A ordinary shares, representing 54.9%, of our outstanding ordinary shares. See “Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions — A. Major Shareholders.”

Sales of substantial amounts of our ADSs in the public market, including upon the exchange of all or part of the Participation Interest by New Cotai or its permitted transferees, or the perception that these sales could occur, could adversely affect the market price of our ADSs and could materially impair our ability to raise capital through equity offerings in the future. We also cannot predict what effect, if any, market sales of securities held by our significant shareholders or any other shareholder or the availability of these securities fur future sales will have on the market price of our ADSs. ADSs held by holders who are not affiliates of our Company will be freely tradeable without restriction or further registration under the Securities Act, and shares and ADSs held by our affiliates (in each case, to the extent such holders are deemed to be affiliates of the Company) may also be sold in the public market subject to the restrictions in Rule 144 and Rule 701 under the Securities Act and any applicable lock-up agreements. The ADSs represent interests in our Class A ordinary shares. We would, subject to market forces, expect there to be a close correlation in the price of our ADSs and the price of the Class A ordinary shares and any factors contributing to a decline in one market is likely to result to a similar decline in another.

The depositary for our ADSs will give us a discretionary proxy to vote our Class A ordinary shares underlying your ADSs if you do not vote at shareholders’ meetings, except in limited circumstances, which could adversely affect your interests.

Under the deposit agreement for our ADSs, the depositary will give us a discretionary proxy to vote our Class A ordinary shares underlying your ADSs at shareholders’ meetings if you do not give voting instructions to the depositary, unless:

 

   

we have failed to timely provide the depositary with our notice of meeting and related voting materials;

 

   

we have instructed the depositary that we do not wish a discretionary proxy to be given;

 

   

we have informed the depositary that there is substantial opposition as to a matter to be voted on at the meeting;

 

   

a matter to be voted on at the meeting would have a material adverse impact on shareholders; or

 

   

voting at the meeting is made on a show of hands.

The effect of this discretionary proxy is that, if you fail to give voting instructions to the depositary, you cannot prevent our Class A ordinary shares underlying your ADSs from being voted, absent the situations described above, and it may make it more difficult for shareholders to influence our management. Holders of our Class A ordinary shares are not subject to this discretionary proxy.

Because we do not expect to pay dividends in the foreseeable future, you must rely on price appreciation of our ADSs for return on your investment.

We currently intend to retain most, if not all, of our available funds and any future earnings to fund the development and growth of our business. As a result, we do not expect to pay any cash dividends in the

 

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foreseeable future. See “Item 8. Financial Information — A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information — Dividend Policy” and note 17 to the consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this annual report. Therefore, you should not rely on an investment in our ADSs as a source for any future dividend income.

Our board of directors has complete discretion as to whether to distribute dividends, subject to certain requirements of the laws of the Cayman Islands. Under the laws of the Cayman Islands, a Cayman Islands company may pay a dividend out of either profit or share premium account, provided that in no circumstances may a dividend be paid if this would result in the company being unable to pay its debts as they fall due in the ordinary course of business. Even if our board of directors decides to declare and pay dividends, the timing, amount and form of future dividends, if any, will depend on, among other things, our future results of operations and cash flow, our capital requirements and surplus, the amount of distributions, if any, received by us from our subsidiaries, our financial condition, contractual restrictions and other factors deemed relevant by our board of directors. Accordingly, the return on your investment in our ADSs will likely depend entirely upon any future price appreciation of our ADSs. There is no guarantee that our ADSs will appreciate in value or even maintain the price at which you purchased the ADSs. You may not realize a return on your investment in our ADSs and you may even lose your entire investment in our ADSs.

You may be subject to limitations on the transfer of your ADSs.

Your ADSs are transferable on the books of the depositary. However, the depositary may close its books at any time or from time to time when it deems expedient in connection with the performance of its duties. The depositary may close its books from time to time for a number of reasons, including in connection with corporate events such as a rights offering, during which time the depositary needs to maintain an exact number of ADS holders on its books for a specified period. The depositary may also close its books in emergencies, and on weekends and public holidays. The depositary may refuse to deliver, transfer or register transfers of our ADSs generally when our share register or the books of the depositary are closed, or at any time if we deem or the depositary deems it advisable to do so because of any requirement of law or of any government or governmental body, or under any provision of the deposit agreement, or for any other reason.

You may have difficulty enforcing judgments obtained against us.

We are a company incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands and substantially all of our assets are located outside the United States. All of our current operations are conducted in Macau. Due to the lack of reciprocity and treaties between the United States and some of these foreign jurisdictions, together with cost and time constraints, it may be difficult or impossible for you to bring an action against us in the United States in the event that you believe that your rights have been infringed under the U.S. federal securities laws or otherwise. In particular, while none of our directors or officers spend a significant amount of time physically located in mainland China, all of our directors and officers, other than Ms. Mielle and Messrs. Sullivan, Dean, Reganato and Black, spend a significant amount of time physically located in Hong Kong and/or Macau, and it will be more difficult to enforce liabilities and enforce judgments on those individuals.

It may also be difficult for you to enforce in the Cayman Islands, Macau, Hong Kong and Singapore courts judgments obtained in U.S. courts based on the civil liability provisions of the U.S. federal securities laws against us and our officers and directors. For instance, judgments of United States courts may not be directly enforced in Hong Kong. There are currently no treaties or other arrangements providing for reciprocal enforcement of foreign judgments between Hong Kong and the United States. However, the common law permits an action to be brought upon a foreign judgment. Similarly, the judgment of United States courts may not be directly enforced in Macau. There are currently no treaties or other arrangements providing for reciprocal enforcement of foreign judgments between Macau and the United States. However, Macau’s civil procedure law permits an action to be brought to the Macau Second Instance Court for the recognition of a judgment obtained in a foreign jurisdiction. However, a separate legal action for enforcement of the foreign judgment must be

 

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commenced in Macau in order to recover a debt from the judgment debtor, in case the debtor does not make voluntary payment of its debt upon recognition of the foreign judgment by the Courts in Macau.

In addition, there is uncertainty as to whether the courts of the Cayman Islands, Macau, Hong Kong and Singapore would recognize or enforce judgments of U.S. courts against us or such individuals predicated upon the civil liability provisions of the securities laws of the United States or any state. It is also uncertain whether such Cayman Islands, Macau, Hong Kong and Singapore courts would be competent to hear original actions brought in the Cayman Islands, Macau, Hong Kong or Singapore against us or such individuals predicated upon the securities laws of the United States or any state.

We are a foreign private issuer within the meaning of the rules under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, or the Exchange Act, and as such we are exempt from certain provisions applicable to domestic public companies in the United States.

Because we are a foreign private issuer under the Exchange Act, we are exempt from certain provisions of the securities rules and regulations in the United States that are applicable to U.S. domestic issuers, including: (i) the rules under the Exchange Act requiring the filing of quarterly reports on Form 10-Q or current reports on Form 8-K with the SEC; (ii) the sections of the Exchange Act regulating the solicitation of proxies, consents, or authorizations in respect of a security registered under the Exchange Act; (iii) the sections of the Exchange Act requiring insiders to file public reports of their stock ownership and trading activities and liability for insiders who profit from trades made in a short period of time; and (iv) the selective disclosure rules by issuers of material nonpublic information under Regulation FD.

We will be required to file an annual report on Form 20-F within four months of the end of each fiscal year. In addition, we currently publish our results on a quarterly basis through press releases, distributed pursuant to the rules and regulations of the New York Stock Exchange. Press releases relating to financial results and material events will be furnished to the SEC on Form 6-K. However, the information we are required to file with or furnish to the SEC will be less extensive and less timely compared to that required to be filed with the SEC by U.S. domestic issuers.

As a foreign private issuer, we are subject to New York Stock Exchange corporate governance listing standards. However, the New York Stock Exchange rules permit a foreign private issuer like us to follow the corporate governance practices of its home country, including with respect to board and committee composition and shareholder approval requirements with respect to issuances of equity securities. Certain corporate governance practices in the Cayman Islands, which is our home country, may differ significantly from New York Stock Exchange corporate governance listing standards. For instance, shareholders of Cayman Islands exempted companies like us have no general rights under Cayman Islands law to inspect corporate records or to obtain copies of lists of shareholders of these companies. Our directors have discretion under our articles of association to determine whether or not, and under what conditions, our corporate records may be inspected by our shareholders, but are not obliged to make them available to our shareholders. In addition, we rely on this “home country practice” exception and do not have a majority of independent directors serving on our board and we are not required to obtain shareholder approval prior to issuances of ordinary shares or ADSs under New York Stock Exchange rules. This may make it more difficult for you to obtain the information needed to establish any facts necessary for a shareholder motion or to solicit proxies from other shareholders in connection with a proxy contest.

As a “controlled company” within the meaning of the New York Stock Exchange corporate governance rules, we are eligible to, and, in the event we no longer qualify as a foreign private issuer, we intend to elect not to comply with certain of the New York Stock Exchange corporate governance standards, including the requirement that a majority of directors on our board of directors be independent directors.

 

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Certain corporate governance practices in the Cayman Islands, which is our home country, differ significantly from requirements for companies incorporated in other jurisdictions such as the United States. To the extent we choose to follow home country practice with respect to corporate governance matters, our shareholders may be afforded less protection than they otherwise would under rules and regulations applicable to U.S. domestic issuers.

We incur increased costs as a result of being a public company.

As a public company, we incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as well as rules subsequently implemented by the SEC and the New York Stock Exchange, impose various requirements on the corporate governance practices of public companies. These rules and regulations have increased our legal and financial compliance costs and have made some corporate activities more time-consuming and costly. We have also incurred significant expenses and devote substantial management effort toward ensuring compliance with the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and the other rules and regulations of the SEC. For example, as a result of becoming a public company, we have increased the number of independent directors and adopted policies regarding internal controls and disclosure controls and procedures. As a public company, it may be more difficult and more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance, and we may be required to accept reduced policy limits and coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain the same or similar coverage. In addition, we will incur additional costs associated with our public company reporting requirements. It may also be more difficult for us to find qualified persons to serve on our board of directors or as executive officers.

We are a Cayman Islands exempted company and, because judicial precedent regarding the rights of shareholders is more limited under Cayman Islands law than that under U.S. law, you may have less protection for your shareholder rights than you would under U.S. law.

We are an exempted company incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands. Our corporate affairs are governed by our memorandum and articles of association, the Companies Act (as amended) of the Cayman Islands, or Companies Act, and the common law of the Cayman Islands. The rights of shareholders to take action against the directors, actions by minority shareholders and the fiduciary duties of our directors to us under Cayman Islands law are to a large extent governed by the common law of the Cayman Islands. The common law of the Cayman Islands is derived in part from comparatively limited judicial precedent in the Cayman Islands as well as from the common law of England, the decisions of whose courts are of persuasive authority, but are not binding, on a court in the Cayman Islands (except for those decisions handed down from the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council to the extent that these have been appealed from the Cayman Islands courts). The rights of our shareholders and the fiduciary duties of our directors under Cayman Islands law are not as clearly established as they would be under statutes or judicial precedent in some jurisdictions in the United States. In particular, the Cayman Islands has a less developed body of securities laws than the United States. Some U.S. states, such as Delaware, have more fully developed and judicially interpreted bodies of corporate law than the Cayman Islands. In addition, Cayman Islands companies may not have standing to initiate a shareholder derivative action in a federal court of the United States.

Shareholders of Cayman Islands exempted companies like us have no general rights under Cayman Islands law to inspect corporate records (other than the memorandum and articles of association) or to obtain copies of lists of shareholders of these companies. Our directors have discretion under our articles of association to determine whether or not, and under what conditions, our corporate records may be inspected by our shareholders, but are not obliged to make them available to our shareholders. This may make it more difficult for you to obtain the information needed to establish any facts necessary for a shareholder motion or to solicit proxies from other shareholders in connection with a proxy contest.

As a result of all of the above, our public shareholders may have more difficulty in protecting their interests in the face of actions taken by management, members of the board of directors or controlling shareholders than they would as shareholders of a U.S. public company. For a discussion of significant

 

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differences between the provisions of the Companies Act (as amended) of the Cayman Islands and the laws applicable to companies incorporated in the United States and their shareholders, see “Item 10. Additional Information — B. Memorandum and Articles of Association — Differences in Corporate Law.”

If we are a passive foreign investment company for United States federal income tax purposes for any taxable year, United States holders of our ADSs could be subject to adverse United States federal income tax consequences.

A non-United States corporation will be a passive foreign investment company, or PFIC, for United States federal income tax purposes for any taxable year if either (i) at least 75% of its gross income for such taxable year is passive income or (ii) at least 50% of the value of its assets (based on an average of the quarterly values) during such year is attributable to assets that produce or are held for the production of passive income. Based on the value of our assets and the composition of our income and assets, we do not believe we were a PFIC for United States federal income tax purposes for our taxable year ended December 31, 2022. However, the determination of whether or not we are a PFIC according to the PFIC rules is made on an annual basis and will depend on the composition of our income and assets and the value of our assets from time to time. Therefore, changes in the composition of our income or assets or the value of our assets may cause us to become a PFIC. The determination of the value of our assets (including goodwill not reflected on our balance sheet) may be based, in part, on the quarterly market value of our ADSs, which is subject to change and may be volatile.

The classification of certain of our income as active or passive, and certain of our assets as producing active or passive income, and hence whether we are or will become a PFIC, depends on the interpretation of certain United States Treasury Regulations as well as certain IRS guidance relating to the classification of assets as producing active or passive income. Such regulations and guidance are potentially subject to different interpretations. If due to different interpretations of such regulations and guidance the percentage of our passive income or the percentage of our assets treated as producing passive income increases, we may be a PFIC in one or more taxable years.

If we are a PFIC for any taxable year during which a United States person holds ADSs, certain adverse United States federal income tax consequences could apply to such United States person. See “Item 10. Additional Information — E. Taxation — United States Federal Income Taxation — Passive Foreign Investment Company.”

If a United States person is treated as owning at least 10% of our shares, such holder may be subject to adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences.

If a United States person is treated as owning (directly, indirectly or constructively) at least 10% of the value or voting power of our stock (including our ordinary shares and ADSs), such person may be treated as a “United States shareholder” with respect to us. A United States shareholder of a “controlled foreign corporation” may be required to report annually and include in its U.S. taxable income its pro rata share of “Subpart F income,” “global intangible low-taxed income” and investments in U.S. property by controlled foreign corporations, regardless of whether we make any distributions. An individual that is a United States shareholder with respect to a controlled foreign corporation generally would not be allowed certain tax deductions or foreign tax credits that would be allowed to a United States shareholder that is a U.S. corporation. Failure to comply with these reporting obligations may subject you to significant monetary penalties and may prevent the statute of limitations with respect to your U.S. federal income tax return for the year for which reporting was due from starting. We cannot provide any assurances that we will assist investors in determining whether we are a controlled foreign corporation or whether such investor is treated as a United States shareholder with respect to us or furnish to any United States shareholders information that may be necessary to comply with the aforementioned reporting and tax paying obligations. A United States investor should consult its advisors regarding the potential application of these rules to an investment in the stock.

 

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ITEM 4.

INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

A. HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE COMPANY

We were established as an international business company, limited by shares, under the laws of the British Virgin Islands as CYBER ONE AGENTS LIMITED on August 2, 2000 and subsequently re-registered as a business company, limited by shares, under the British Virgin Islands Business Companies Act, 2004. New Cotai acquired a 40% equity interest in us on December 6, 2006. MCO Cotai acquired a 60% equity interest in us on July 27, 2011. Melco Resorts is an exempted company incorporated with limited liability under the Companies Act (as amended) of the Cayman Islands and its American Depositary Shares are listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market in the United States. On January 17, 2012, our name was changed from CYBER ONE AGENTS LIMITED to STUDIO CITY INTERNATIONAL HOLDINGS LIMITED.

In October 2001, we were granted a land concession in Cotai by the Macau government for the development of Studio City, a cinematically-themed integrated resort. Studio City commenced operations on October 27, 2015. We conduct our principal activities through our subsidiaries, which are primarily located in Macau. We currently operate the non-gaming operations of Studio City. The Gaming Operator operates the Studio City Casino. See “Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions — B. Related Party Transactions.”

Prior to the completion of our initial public offering, we engaged in a series of organizational transactions, or the Organizational Transactions, through which substantially all of our assets and liabilities were contributed to our subsidiary, MSC Cotai, a business company limited by shares incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, in exchange for newly-issued shares of MSC Cotai. For more information on the Organizational Transactions, see “Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions — B. Related Party Transactions — Pre-IPO Organizational Transactions.” In connection with such Organizational Transactions, we redomiciled by way of continuation as an exempted company incorporated with limited liability under the laws of the Cayman Islands on October 15, 2018.

In October 2018, we completed the initial public offering of our ADSs, each of which represents four Class A ordinary shares, and listed our ADSs on The New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “MSC.” For more information on our corporate structure, see “— C. Organizational Structure.”

On May 4, 2022, we were identified as a Commission-Identified Issuer under the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act (“HFCAA”) and the rules promulgated thereunder because our auditor at that time was Ernst & Young, located in Hong Kong, which was a PCAOB-Identified Firm as of May 4, 2022. On August 16, 2022, we changed our auditor from Ernst & Young, located in Hong Kong, to Ernst & Young LLP, located in Singapore, which is not a PCAOB-Identified Firm. In December 2022, the PCAOB announced that it secured complete access to inspect and investigate registered public accounting firms headquartered in mainland China and Hong Kong. As a result, until such time as the PCAOB issues any new determination, we do not believe we are at risk of being a Commission-Identified Issuer for a second consecutive year and are no longer at risk of having our securities subject to a trading prohibition under the HFCAA.

Our principal executive offices are located at 71 Robinson Road, #04-03, Singapore 068895 and 38th Floor, The Centrium, 60 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong. Our telephone number is 852-2598-3600 and our fax number is 852-2537-3618. Our website is www.studiocity-macau.com. The information contained on our website is not part of this annual report on Form 20-F.

The SEC maintains an internet site (http://www.sec.gov) that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC.

 

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B. BUSINESS OVERVIEW

Overview

Studio City is a world-class integrated resort located in Cotai, Macau and its principal operating activities are the provision of services pursuant to a casino contract and the hospitality business in Macau. The gaming operations of Studio City Casino are focused on the mass market and target all ranges of mass market patrons. The mass market focus of the Studio City Casino is currently complemented with VIP rolling chip operations. The Gaming Operator currently has 250 gaming tables, including 15 tables for VIP rolling chip operations, and 552 gaming machines available for operation at the Studio City Casino pursuant to the Studio City Casino Agreement. Excluding gaming tables and gaming machines that were not in operation due to government-mandated closures or social distancing measures in relation to COVID-19 outbreaks, the Gaming Operator operated an average of approximately 277 gaming tables and 700 gaming machines in in 2022 at the Studio City Casino, compared to an average of approximately 290 gaming tables and 645 gaming machines in operation in 2021 and an average of approximately 282 gaming tables and 586 gaming machines in operation in 2020. Our cinematically-themed integrated resort is designed to attract a wide range of customers by providing highly differentiated non-gaming attractions, including the world’s first figure-8 Ferris wheel, a deluxe night club and karaoke, a 5,000-seat live performance arena and an outdoor water park. Studio City features approximately 1,600 luxury hotel rooms, diverse food and beverage establishments and approximately 34,400 square meters of complementary retail space.

Studio City is strategically located in Cotai, as one of the few dedicated Cotai hotel-casino resort stops on the Macau Light Rapid Transit Line, with an access bridge leading to Studio City.

Studio City has delivered continuous earnings improvement since commencing operations in October 2015 through 2019. We have grown total operating revenues from US$539.8 million in 2017 to US$571.2 million in 2018 and further to US$626.7 million in 2019. We generated net income attributable to Studio City International Holdings Limited of US$33.6 million in 2019 and net losses attributable to Studio City International Holdings Limited of US$76.4 million and US$21.6 million in 2017 and 2018, respectively. We increased our Adjusted EBITDA from US$279.1 million in 2017 to US$314.8 million in 2018 and further to US$361.0 million in 2019, and expanded our Adjusted EBITDA margin from 51.7% to 55.1% and further to 57.6%, respectively, for these periods. However, due to the temporary casino closure and enhanced quarantine and social distancing measures to contain the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, our total operating revenues decreased from US$626.7 million in 2019 to US$49.2 million in 2020 and we generated net loss attributable to Studio City International Holdings Limited of US$321.6 million in 2020 compared to a net income attributable to Studio City International Holdings Limited of US$33.6 million in 2019. Due to the year-over-year increase in inbound tourism in 2021, total operating revenues increased to US$106.9 million in 2021 from US$49.2 million in 2020, and we generated net loss attributable to Studio City International Holdings Limited of US$252.6 million in 2021 compared to US$321.6 million in 2020. In 2022, total operating revenues decreased to US$11.5 million and we generated net loss attributable to Studio City International Holdings Limited of US$326.5 million due to the temporary casino closure and quarantine and social distancing measures to contain the COVID-19 outbreak in 2022.

Studio City Casino is operated by the Gaming Operator, one of the subsidiaries of Melco Resorts and a holder of a gaming concession, and we operate the non-gaming businesses of Studio City.

We generated all of our revenues for each of the years ended December 31, 2022, 2021 and 2020 from our operations in Macau, the sole market in which we compete to operate. For further information on the Macau gaming market, see “— Market and Competition — Macau Gaming Market.”

Gaming

Studio City Casino currently consists of mass market table gaming, gaming machine and VIP gaming areas, with a total operating gross floor area of 22,048 square meters, located on the ground and first floors of

 

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Studio City. Studio City Casino gaming customers currently include mass market and VIP rolling chip players. Studio City Casino catered exclusively to mass market players until it launched its VIP rolling chip operations in November 2016. For the years ended December 31, 2022, 2021 and 2020, Studio City Casino’s gross gaming revenues was US$171.2 million, US$380.8 million and US$264.4 million, respectively.

Excluding gaming tables and gaming machines that were not in operation due to government-mandated closures or social distancing measures in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak, Studio City Casino had an average of approximately 277 gaming tables and 700 gaming machines in operation in 2022, compared to an average of approximately 290 gaming tables and 645 gaming machines in operation in 2021. These gaming tables offer gaming patrons a variety of options including baccarat, three card baccarat, blackjack, craps, Caribbean stud poker, roulette, sic bo, fortune 3 card poker and other games. Studio City Casino also offers VIP rolling chip operations, with 15 tables authorized for such operations. We currently expect our business strategy going forward to continue to focus on cultivating further growth in the premium mass and mass market segments at the Studio City Casino and enhancing our differentiated non-gaming amenities to complement our gaming operations.

Mass Market Segment

The mass market gaming area caters to mass market gaming patrons and offers a full range of games, 24 hours daily. The layout of the gaming floor is organized using the different market segments that Studio City Casino targets, namely the mainstream mass market and the premium mass market. The premium mass market gaming area has decorations and features distinctive from the mainstream mass market gaming area.

Studio City Casino’s mass market table games drop and hold percentage were US$0.46 billion and 28.5% in 2022, respectively, US$1.13 billion and 27.7% in 2021, respectively, and US$0.73 billion and 26.6% in 2020, respectively. As a result, Studio City Casino had gross gaming revenue from mass market table games of US$131.3 million, US$313.6 million and US$193.8 million in 2022, 2021 and 2020, respectively. Studio City Casino’s gaming machine handle and gaming machine win rate were US$0.66 billion and 2.8% in 2022, respectively, US$1.11 billion and 2.7% in 2021, respectively, and US$0.74 billion and 2.8% in 2020, respectively. As a result, Studio City Casino had gross gaming revenue from gaming machine of US$18.6 million, US$30.4 million and US$20.2 million in 2022, 2021 and 2020, respectively. Average net win per gaming machine per day in 2022, 2021 and 2020 was US$75, US$129 and US$98, respectively.

Studio City Casino will continue to re-examine the mass market gaming areas to maximize table utilization, to innovate gaming products and to invest in technologies and analytical capability to enhance table productivity and customer retention.

VIP Rolling Chip Segment

In November 2016, Studio City Casino introduced VIP rolling chip operations. The VIP rolling chip area is comprised of private gaming salons or areas that have restricted access to rolling chip patrons and offer more personalized and ultra-premium services than the mainstream and premium mass market gaming areas. It is also situated at a higher level than the mass market gaming areas with generally higher-end dining and beverage options and special decorations. Studio City Casino’s VIP rolling chip volume, VIP rolling chip win rate and VIP rolling chip gross gaming revenue were US$0.84 billion, 2.56% and US$21.4 million, respectively, in 2022, US$1.84 billion, 2.00% and US$36.8 million, respectively, in 2021 and US$2.21 billion, 2.28% and US$50.4 million, respectively, in 2020.

Hotel

Studio City includes self-managed luxury hotel facilities with approximately 1,600 hotel rooms, all elegantly furnished and complete with services and amenities to match. The hotel facilities include indoor and

 

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outdoor swimming pools, beauty salon, spa, fitness centers and other amenities. The Studio City hotel features two distinct towers, enabling it to provide a variety of accommodation selections to visitors. The premium all-suite Star Tower offers approximately 600 suites complete with lavish facilities and dedicated services for a luxury retreat. There are six types of suites which range in size from the Star Premier King Suite at 62 square meters to the Star Grand Deluxe Suite at 211 square meters which includes a living room, dining room and a separate bedroom. Personalized check-in, private indoor heated pool and health club can be enjoyed by all Star Tower guests. The Celebrity Tower with approximately 1,000 rooms brings a deluxe hotel experience to a board range of travelers, which includes access to all of the entertainment facilities offered by Studio City. It offers eleven different room packages ranging from the Celebrity King at 42 square meters to the Celebrity Deluxe Suite at 95 square meters. The following table sets forth certain data with respect to our hotel for the years indicated:

 

     For the Year Ended December 31,  
     2022     2021     2020  

Average daily rate (US$)

     111       123       128  

REVPAR (US$)

     31       62       36  

Occupancy rate

     28     51     28

Studio City’s Star Tower garnered the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star recognition for the sixth consecutive year in 2023. It also achieved the Sharecare Health Security VERIFIED® with Forbes Travel Guide certification in 2020, recognizing its commitment to creating a culture of accountability and following global best practices to heighten health security.

Dining

We believe that our selection of dining options that include restaurants, bars and lounges offering a diverse selection of local, regional and international cuisine attracts more visitors to Studio City. Studio City offers both high-end and casual dining restaurants, cafes, bars and lounges to cater to the tastes and preferences of our patrons. A wide range of food and beverage outlets are located throughout Studio City, including traditional Cantonese, northern Chinese, South East Asian, Japanese, Italian and other western and international cuisines as well as local Macau cuisine. Studio City offers gourmet dining with a range of signature restaurants including one Michelin-starred Pearl Dragon.

Retail

Studio City has approximately 34,400 square meters of themed and innovative retail space at the lower levels of the property. The retail mall showcases a variety of shops and food and beverage offerings including a small portion of our self-operated retail outlets.

The Boulevard at Studio City provides a unique retail experience to visitors. The immersive retail entertainment environment at Studio City enables visitors to shop in a streetscape environment with featured streets and squares inspired by iconic shopping and entertainment locations, including New York’s Times Square. Studio City’s retail space offers a mix of fashion-forward labels and internationally-renowned brands.

Entertainment

Macau is an increasingly popular tourist destination and in order to attract more tourists and locals, Studio City incorporated many entertainment themes and elements which appeal to the mainstream mass consumer. Our diverse, immersive and entertainment-driven experiences and innovative venues cater to a wide range of demographic groups, including young professionals and families with children. As a major tourist

 

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attraction in Macau, Studio City’s premier entertainment offerings help to drive visitation to our property. Studio City’s entertainment offerings include:

 

   

Golden Reel — an iconic landmark of Macau, it is the world’s first figure-8 and Asia’s highest Ferris wheel. The Golden Reel rises approximately 130 meters high between Studio City’s Art Deco-inspired twin hotel towers. The iconic landmark features 17 spacious Steampunk-themed cabins that can each accommodate up to ten passengers.

 

   

Studio City Event Center — a 5,000-seat multi-purpose arena representing the centerpiece of Studio City’s live entertainment offerings. The complex has a first-class premium seating level offering 16 private VIP suites, in addition to approximately 242 luxury club seats and a deluxe club lounge. Each VIP suite is spacious and elegantly designed, coming fully equipped with stylish furnishings and a flat-screen TV. Playing host to concerts, theatrical shows, sporting events, family shows, award ceremonies and more, the Studio City Event Center is the next generation in versatile, innovative, premier and live entertainment venues.

 

   

Studio City Water Park — a water park featuring several high-thrill and family-focused attractions, including the High Point Twister, a 20-meter tall slide tower with waterslides for individuals and small families alike, and the Golden Bucket, a massive water play structure with a classic tipping bucket, four slides and over 60 water features. For small children, the Studio City Water Park includes the Little Lagoon with four slides for kids of all ages and their parents. Finally, the Studio City Water Park also includes Studio City’s Riverscape, a jungle-themed action river that is over 450 meters long which offers three routes of differing lengths, three white-sand beaches and 16 water features throughout the guest’s journey.

 

   

Legend Heroes PVRK — a technology-based entertainment park which combines virtual technology with the physical world to deliver an immersive user experience. Legend Heroes PVRk features flight simulation, VR simulations, bowling alleys, a free arcade, trendy retail, and a high-tech café featuring Macau’s only Robot Barista.

 

   

Studio 88 KTV — a deluxe night club and karaoke.

 

   

Super Fun Zone — covering 29,600 square feet, the four-level Super Fun Zone is capable of hosting up to 500 people. Divided into five zones—Mountain, Forest, Under the Sea, Outer Space and Space Station – it is a space for children of all ages to climb, jump and enjoy a wide range of experiences featuring more than ten attractions. Super Fun Zone also offers three party rooms, one retail store and one clubhouse diner.

Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions

Studio City offers over 4,000 square meters of indoor event space with flexible configurations and customization options, which can accommodate a variety of events from an exclusive banquet to an international conference. The Grand Ballroom space of 1,820 square meters can be configured into three separate ballrooms with a banquet capacity of 1,200 seats or a cocktail reception for 1,500 people. Eight individual salons, together with the Grand Ballroom, provide a banquet seating capacity of up to 1,300 seats or meeting and break-out spaces with extensive pre-function areas for up to 1,800 people. Many of the salons offer views of the pool deck and have private outdoor terraces for coffee and lunch breaks.

MICE events typically take place on weekdays, thereby drawing traffic during the portion of the week when hotels and casinos in Macau normally experience lower demand relative to weekends and holidays when occupancy and room rates are typically at their peak due to leisure travel. Since its opening, events held at Studio City included live concerts from headline acts such as Madonna, four time Grammy Awards nominee FLO RIDA, Aaron Kwok (郭富城), Han Hong (韓紅), Kenny G, A-mei (張惠妹) and Jam Hsiao (蕭敬騰) as well as themed events such as a three-day Wedding Showcase (featuring dream wedding venue set-ups, tableware demonstrations, wedding gown catwalk shows and instrumental performances), a Chinese New Year’s Promo, Shakemas Campaign for Christmas, Michelin Guide Street Food Festival and The Super 8 basketball tournament.

 

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Customers

We seek to cater to a broad range of customers with a focus on mass market players through the diverse gaming and non-gaming facilities and amenities at Studio City. The loyalty program, which is operated by the Gaming Operator jointly with other Gaming Operator casinos, at Studio City ensures that each customer segment is specifically recognized and incentivized in accordance with their revenue contribution. The loyalty program is segmented into several tiers. Members earn points for their gaming spending which may be redeemed for a range of retail gifts and complimentary vouchers to be used in our restaurants, bars, shows, hotel and Studio City Casino. Members also receive other benefits such as discounts, parking entitlement and invitations to member-only promotional events. Dedicated customer hosting programs provide service to our most valuable customers and these customers enjoy exclusive access to private luxury gaming salons. In addition, we utilize sophisticated analytical programs and capabilities to track the behavior and spending patterns of our patrons. We believe these tools will help deepen our understanding of our customers to optimize yields and make continued improvements to our Studio City property.

Gaming Patrons

Gaming patrons currently include mass market players and VIP rolling chip players.

Mass market players are non-VIP rolling chip players that come to Studio City Casino for a variety of reasons, including our brand, the quality and comfort of the mass market gaming offerings. Mass market players are classified as mainstream mass market and premium mass market players. Our premium mass market players generally do not take advantage of our luxury amenities to the same degree as VIP rolling chip players, but they are offered a variety of premium mass market amenities and loyalty programs, such as reserved space on the regular gaming floor and various other services, that are generally unavailable to mainstream mass market players. Mass market players play table games and gaming machines for cash stakes that are typically lower than those of VIP rolling chip players.

VIP rolling chip players are patrons who participate in Studio City Casino’s in-house rolling chip programs at the dedicated VIP gaming areas. These patrons include premium direct players sourced through the marketing efforts of the Gaming Operator. VIP rolling chip players can earn a variety of gaming related cash commissions and complimentary products and services, such as rooms, food and beverage and retail products provided by the Gaming Operator.

Non-Gaming Patrons

We provide non-gaming patrons with a broad array of accommodations and leisure and entertainment offerings featured at Studio City, including interactive attractions, rides and attractive retail offerings and food and beverage selections.

We assess and evaluate our focus on different market segments from time to time and adjust our operations accordingly.

Gaming Promoters

Gaming promoters in Macau are independent third parties that include both individuals and corporate entities, all of which are officially required to be licensed by the DICJ. The Gaming Operator has procedures to screen prospective gaming promoters prior to their engagement and conducts periodic checks that are designed to ensure that the gaming promoters with whom the Gaming Operator associates meet suitability standards.

The Gaming Operator typically enters into one-year term gaming promoter agreements that are automatically renewed in subsequent years unless otherwise terminated. The gaming promoters are compensated

 

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through commission arrangements that are calculated on a monthly or a per trip basis. Commission is calculated by reference to monthly rolling chip volume. The gaming promoters may also receive complimentary allowances for food and beverage, hotel accommodation and transportation.

While the Gaming Operator does not currently have gaming promoters arrangements at the Studio City Casino following the termination of such arrangements in December 2021, the Gaming Operator may engage and grant credit to gaming promoters in the future.

Advertising and Marketing

The Gaming Operator holds various promotions and special events at Studio City and operates a loyalty program for patrons. In addition, Studio City participates in cross marketing and sales campaigns developed by the Gaming Operator. We believe this arrangement helps reduce marketing costs through scale synergies and enhances cross-revenue opportunities.

Moreover, we seek to attract customers to Studio City and to grow our customer base over time by undertaking a variety of advertising and marketing activities.

There are public relations and marketing and branding teams dedicated to Studio City that cultivate media relationships, promote Studio City’s brands and directly liaise with customers within target Asian and other countries in order to explore media opportunities in various markets. Advertising activities at Studio City are rolled out through a variety of local and regional media platforms, including digital, social media, print, television, online, outdoor as well as collateral and direct mail pieces. We also engage celebrities for marketing activities. We believe that these marketing and incentive programs will increase our brand awareness and drive further visitation to Studio City.

Awards

Studio City has received numerous awards, including:

 

   

Studio City’s Star Tower received the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star recognition for the sixth consecutive year in 2023 and achieved the Sharecare Health Security VERIFIED® with Forbes Travel Guide certification in 2020, recognizing its commitment to creating a culture of accountability and following global best practices to heighten health security,

 

   

Zensa Spa was awarded the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star recognition for the fifth time in 2023,

 

   

Its signature Cantonese restaurant Pearl Dragon received its fifth Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star recognition in 2023. It was honored Best Chinese Cuisine in Asia - Excellence Award winner by 2022 Haute Grandeur Global Restaurant Awards and was selected as a Regional Winner in the “Chinese Cuisine” category at the 2020 World Luxury Restaurant Award. It received one-Michelin-starred establishment rank for the sixth consecutive year in the Michelin Guide Hong Kong Macau 2022, and

 

   

Studio City Phase 2 received the “Regional Award, Asia” at the 2021 BREEAM Awards which acknowledges the sustainability-related measures implemented during the project, as well as its contribution to the goals of carbon neutrality and zero waste.

Market and Competition

Macau Gaming Market

Gaming in Macau is administered through concessions awarded by the Macau government to six different concessionaires: SJM, MGM Grand, Galaxy, Venetian Macau Limited, Wynn Resorts Macau and Melco Resorts Macau.

 

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SJM is a subsidiary of SJM Holdings Ltd., a company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in which family members of Mr. Lawrence Ho, the chairman of our Company and the chairman and chief executive officer of Melco Resorts, have shareholding interests. SJM currently operates multiple casinos throughout Macau. SJM (through its predecessor Tourism and Entertainment Company of Macau Limited) commenced its gaming operations in Macau in 1962 and opened Grand Lisboa Palace in Cotai in July 2021 and is expected to open two additional hotels in 2023.

MGM Grand Paradise S.A. or MGM Grand is a subsidiary of MGM China Holdings Limited, a company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. MGM Grand was originally formed as a joint venture by MGM-Mirage and Ms. Pansy Ho, sister of Mr. Lawrence Ho. MGM Grand opened MGM Macau on the Macau Peninsula in December 2007 and MGM Cotai in February 2018.

Galaxy currently operates multiple casinos in Macau, including StarWorld, a hotel and casino resort in Macau’s central business and tourism district. The Galaxy Macau Resort opened in Cotai in May 2011 and the opening of Phase 2 of the Galaxy Macau Resort took place in May 2015. Galaxy is currently developing phase 3 of the Galaxy Macau Resort, which is completed and is currently expected to be progressively opened in the second quarter of 2023, while phase 4 is currently under development.

Venetian Macau Limited is a subsidiary of Las Vegas Sands Corporation and Sands China Limited, which are listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, respectively. Las Vegas Sands Corporation is the developer of Sands Macao, The Venetian Macau, Sands Cotai Central and Parisian Macao. Venetian Macau Limited operates Sands Macao on the Macau peninsula, together with The Venetian Macau and the Plaza Casino at The Four Seasons Hotel Macao, which are located in Cotai. Venetian Macau Limited also operated Sands Cotai Central in Cotai, which has been rebranded and redeveloped into The Londoner Macau, which opened in February 2021. Sands China Ltd. opened the Parisian Macao in Cotai in September 2016.

Wynn Resorts Macau, is a subsidiary of Wynn Macau, Limited, which is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, and of Wynn Resorts Limited, which is listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. Wynn Resorts Macau opened Wynn Macau in September 2006 on the Macau Peninsula and an extension called Encore in 2010. In August 2016, Wynn Resorts Macau opened Wynn Palace, in Cotai.

Melco Resorts Macau, in addition to Studio City Casino, also operates Mocha Clubs, Altira Macau (located in Taipa Island), which opened in May 2007, and City of Dreams located in Cotai, which opened in June 2009. Phase 3 of City of Dreams, which includes the Morpheus Hotel, opened in June 2018.

In addition to facing competition from existing operations of these concessionaires, we will face increased competition when any of them constructs new, or renovates pre-existing, hotels and casinos in Macau or enters into leasing, services or other arrangements with hotel owners, developers or other parties for the operation of casinos and gaming activities in new or renovated properties.

Under the amended gaming law, the Macau government has set a cap on gaming tables and gaming machines that may be operated in Macau at 6,000 gaming tables and 12,000 gaming machines. In addition, gaming tables and gaming machines previously allocated to a concessionaire may also be revoked if the minimum average annual gross gaming revenue of MOP7 million (equivalent to approximately US$870,233) for gaming tables and MOP300,000 (equivalent to approximately US$37,296) for gaming machines are not met for two consecutive years or the tables or gaming machines are not fully utilized without reason within a certain period.

 

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Law no. 7/2022 which amends the Macau Gaming Operations Law (Law no. 16/2001) came into force in June 2022. Principal changes under the recently amended law include, among others, the following:

 

   

the number of gaming concessions that may be awarded by the Macau government is up to six;

 

   

the term of the concessions may be up to ten years, subject to extension(s) of up to three years in total;

 

   

the registered share capital of each concessionaire shall be at least MOP5 billion (US$621.6 million);

 

   

the managing director of each concessionaire must be a Macau permanent resident and hold at least 15% of the concessionaire’s registered share capital;

 

   

significant transactions should be notified by concessionaires to the Macau government in advance;

 

   

an administrative sanctions regime is to be established;

 

   

national security is one of the main objectives of the Macau gaming legal framework and a concession may be terminated without compensation in case it is considered a threat to national security;

 

   

a per gaming table and per gaming machine special premium is due should gross gaming revenue fall below the gross gaming revenue threshold set by the Macau government;

 

   

the Macau government sets the maximum number of gaming tables and gaming machines allocated to each concessionaire and the allocation of such gaming tables and gaming machines to a specific casino is subject to the approval of the Macau government;

 

   

the Macau government may reduce the number of gaming tables or gaming machines in certain circumstances;

 

   

the amount of gaming chips of each concessionaire in circulation is subject to Macau government approval; and

 

   

the concessionaires are jointly and severally liable for administrative fines and civil liability arising from the exercise in their casinos of the authorized gaming promotion activity by gaming promoters, their directors and key employees, as well as their collaborators. Such joint and several liability may be excluded when it is proved that the concessionaire has responsibly fulfilled its supervision duty.

Other Regional Markets

Studio City may also face competition from casinos and gaming resorts located in other Asian or European destinations together with cruise ships. Casinos and integrated gaming resorts are becoming increasingly popular in Asia, giving rise to more opportunities for industry participants and increasing regional competition. There are major gaming facilities in Australia located in Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and the Gold Coast. Genting Highlands is a popular international gaming resort in Malaysia, approximately a one-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur. South Korea has allowed gaming for some time but these offerings are available primarily to foreign visitors. Kangwon Land operates the only casino in the country that is open to Korean nationals. There are two major gaming facilities in Singapore located on Sentosa and at Marina Bay. There are also casinos in Vietnam and Cambodia, although they are relatively small compared to those in Macau.

In December 2016, a law which conceptually enables the development of integrated resorts in Japan took effect, with corresponding legislation providing a legislative framework for the development and implementation of integrated resorts in Japan taking effect in July 2018 and a proposed project in Osaka announced in September 2021. In addition, several other Asian countries are considering or are in the process of legalizing gambling and establishing casino-based entertainment complexes.

We may also face competition from hotels and resorts, including many of the largest gaming, hospitality, leisure and resort companies in the world. These include Travellers International Hotel Group, Inc., Bloomberry Resorts Corporation, Tiger Resorts Leisure and Entertainment Inc., Melco Resorts Leisure (PHP) Corporation as well as Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.

 

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Seasonality

Macau, which is our principal market of operation, experiences many peaks and seasonal effects. The “Golden Week” and “Chinese New Year” holidays are generally the key periods where business and visitation increase considerably in Macau. While we may experience fluctuations in revenues and cash flows from month to month, we do not believe that our business is materially impacted by seasonality.

Land and Properties

Land Concession

In October 2001, we entered into a land concession contract with the Macau government for the land on which Studio City is located. The contract was subsequently amended in 2012 and 2015.

The granted land is located in Cotai, Macau, with a total area of approximately 130,789 square meters. The gross construction area of our granted land is approximately 657,879.39 square meters, of which approximately 28,784.3 square meters, or 4.38%, comprises the gaming and gaming support area and is owned by the Macau SAR. Effective from January 1, 2023, the Macau government has transferred this area to the Gaming Operator for usage in its operations of the Studio City Casino during the duration of the concession for a fee of MOP750.00 (equivalent to approximately US$93) per square meter for years 1 to 3 of the Concession Contract, subject to consumer price index increase in years 2 and 3 of the concession. The fee will increase to MOP2,500.00 (equivalent to approximately US$311) per square meter for years 4 to 10 of the concession, subject to consumer price index increase in years 5 to 10 of the concession. The Gaming Operator deducts the fees paid by the Gaming Operator to the Macau government as costs of operation pursuant to the terms of the Studio City Casino Agreement.

The land concession contract has a term of 25 years commencing on October 2001 and is renewable for further consecutive periods of ten years, subject to applicable legislation in Macau. Under the land concession contract, the Macau government may exercise its termination rights under certain conditions.

Pursuant to our land concession contract and the extension granted by the Macau government, our granted land, including the Phase 2 project, must be fully developed by June 30, 2023. Land use fees of approximately MOP3.9 million (equivalent to approximately US$490,000) per annum are payable to the Macau government during the development stage. The annual land use fees payable to the Macau government after completion of development will be MOP9.1 million (equivalent to approximately US$1.1 million). The amounts may be adjusted every five years using the applicable rates in effect at the time of the rent adjustment. See “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Relating to Our Business — As of March 30, 2023, we are finalizing the licensing procedures for the Phase 2 project for Studio City under the terms of a land concession which currently requires us to fully develop the land on which Studio City is located by June 30, 2023. Any extension of the development period is subject to Macau government review and approval at its discretion. In the event of any failure to complete certain licensing procedures by June 30, 2023, we could be forced to forfeit all or part of our investment in Studio City, along with our interest in the land on which Studio City is located and the building and structures on such land.”

Development of Our Phase 2 Project

Construction of our Phase 2 project has been completed. The project consists of two hotel towers with 895 rooms, suites and villas. The project also contains a waterpark with indoor and outdoor areas. Other attractions expected to be part of the project include MICE space, retail and food and beverage outlets and a cineplex.

As of March 30, 2023, we are finalizing the licensing procedures of the Phase 2 project of Studio City. We currently anticipate opening the first stage of the Phase 2 project in the second quarter of 2023 and the second stage in the third quarter of 2023. The first stage of opening is expected to include one of the hotel towers and the indoor water park.

 

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In accordance with the Studio City land concession and the extension granted by the Macau government, the land on which Studio City is located must be fully developed by June 30, 2023. See Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Relating to Our Business — As of March 30, 2023, we are finalizing the licensing procedures for the Phase 2 project for Studio City under the terms of a land concession which currently requires us to fully develop the land on which Studio City is located by June 30, 2023. Any extension of the development period is subject to Macau government review and approval at its discretion. In the event of any failure to complete certain licensing procedures by June 30, 2023, we could be forced to forfeit all or part of our investment in Studio City, along with our interest in the land on which Studio City is located and the building and structures on such land,” and “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Relating to Our Business — We may not be able to obtain adequate financing on satisfactory terms for our existing business, or at all.”

Properties

Apart from the property site for Studio City, we do not own or lease any other properties.

Intellectual Property

As part of our branding strategy, we have applied for or registered a number of trademarks (including “Studio City” trademarks) in Macau, Hong Kong and other jurisdictions for use in connection with Studio City. Where possible, we intend to continue to register trademarks as we develop, review and implement our branding strategy for Studio City. However, our current and any future trademarks are subject to expiration and we cannot guarantee that we will be able to renew all of them upon expiration.

Our trademarks and other intellectual property rights distinguish our services and products from those of our competitors and contribute to our ability to compete in our target markets. To protect our intellectual property, we rely on a combination of trademark, copyright and trade secret laws. To protect our intellectual property rights, we monitor any infringement or misappropriation of our intellectual property rights, and staff working at Studio City are generally subject to confidentiality obligations. For our license agreements that are required for our operations, see “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects — C. Research and Development, Patents and Licenses, etc.”

Insurance

We maintain and benefit from, and expect to continue to maintain and benefit from, insurance of the types and in amounts that are customary in the industry and which we believe will reasonably protect our interests. This includes commercial general liability (including product liability and accidental pollution liability), automobile liability, workers compensation, property damage and machinery breakdown and business interruption insurances. We also require certain contractors who may perform work on Studio City, as well as other vendors, to maintain certain insurances. In each case, all such insurances are subject to various caps on liability, both on a per claim and aggregate basis, as well as certain deductibles and other terms and conditions. We do not maintain key-man life insurance. See “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Relating to Our Business — We may not have sufficient insurance coverage.”

Environmental Matters

We are committed to environmental awareness and have developed built-in innovative and energy saving green technologies for operations at Studio City. Currently, we are not aware of any material environmental complaints having been made against us.

 

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Our Internal Control Policies

We have adopted our own governance policies and internal control measures in order to achieve operations in a professional manner in compliance with its, and Melco Resorts’, internal control requirements and applicable laws.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or the FCPA, and Macau laws prohibit us and the staff and agents participating in the operations in Studio City from offering or giving money or any other item of value to win or retain business or to influence any act or decision of any government official. The Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, or the Code, includes provisions relating to compliance of all applicable anti-corruption laws including FCPA and the relevant Macau laws. The Ethical Business Practices Program covers corruption in both public and private sectors. It also covers the activities of our shareholders (to the extent they act or take actions on our behalf), directors, officers, employees and dedicated staff members performing services solely at Studio City.

Studio City Casino is managed and operated by the Gaming Operator guided by requirements under the Concession Contract and applicable laws and Melco Resorts’ governance policies, including a set of anti-money laundering policies and procedures, or AML Policy, approved by the DICJ, addressing requirements issued by the DICJ and the DICJ’s instructions on anti-money laundering, counter-terrorist financing and other applicable laws and regulations in Macau.

There are training programs in place with the aim that all relevant staff involved in gaming operations managed by the Gaming Operator understand such AML Policy and the related procedures. The Gaming Operator also uses an integrated IT system to track and automatically generate significant cash transaction reports and, if permitted by the DICJ and the Finance Information Bureau, has the capability to submit those reports electronically.

Regulations

Gaming Operation Regulations

The ownership and operation of casino gaming facilities in Macau are subject to the general civil and commercial laws and specific gaming laws, in particular, Law no. 16/2001, as amended in June 2022 pursuant to Law no. 7/2022, or the Macau Gaming Operations Law. Macau’s gaming operations are also subject to the grant of a concession by, and regulatory control of, the Macau government. See “— The Gaming Operator’s Concession” below for more details.

The DICJ is the supervisory authority and regulator of the gaming industry in Macau. The core functions of the DICJ are:

 

   

to collaborate in the definition of gaming policies;

 

   

to supervise and monitor the activities of the concessionaires;

 

   

to investigate and monitor the continuing suitability and financial capacity requirements of concessionaires and gaming promoters;

 

   

to issue licenses to gaming promoters;

 

   

to license and certify gaming equipment; and

 

   

to issue directives and recommend practices with respect to the ordinary operation of casinos.

Below are the main features of the Macau Gaming Operations Law, including amended provisions, as supplemented by Administrative Regulation no. 26/2001 (as amended in July 2022 pursuant to Administrative Regulation no. 28/2022), that are currently applicable to our business.

 

   

If the Gaming Operator breaches the Macau Gaming Operations Law, its Concession Contract could be limited, conditioned, suspended or revoked, subject to compliance with certain statutory and regulatory

 

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procedures. In addition, the Gaming Operator, and the persons involved, could be subject to substantial fines for each separate breach of Macau Gaming Operations Law or of the Concession Contract at the discretion of the Macau government. Further, if the Gaming Operator terminates or suspends the operation of all or a part of its gaming operations without permission for reasons not due to force majeure, or in the event of serious disruptions or deficiencies in its organization and operation or in the general condition of its facilities and equipment which may affect the normal operation of our gaming business, the Macau government would be entitled to replace the Gaming Operator during such disruption and to ensure the continued operation of the gaming business. Under such circumstances, the Gaming Operator would bear the expenses required for maintaining the normal operation of the gaming business.

 

   

The Macau government also has the power to supervise concessionaires in order to assure financial stability and capability. See “— The Gaming Operator’s Concession — The Concession Contract in Macau.”

 

   

Any person who fails or refuses to apply for a finding of suitability after being ordered to do so by the Macau government may be found unsuitable. Any shareholder of a concessionaire holding shares equal to or in excess of 5% of such concessionaire’s share capital who is found unsuitable will be required to dispose of such shares by a certain time (the transfer itself being subject to the Macau government’s authorization). If a disposal has not taken place by the time so designated, such shares must be acquired by the concessionaire. The Gaming Operator may be subject to administrative sanctions if, after it receives notice that a person is unsuitable to be a shareholder or to have any other relationship with it, the Gaming Operator:

 

   

pays that person any dividend or interest upon its shares;

 

   

allows that person to exercise, directly or indirectly, any voting right conferred through shares held by that person;

 

   

pays remuneration in any form to that person for services rendered or otherwise; or

 

   

fails to pursue all lawful efforts to require that unsuitable person to relinquish his or her shares.

 

   

The Macau government also requires prior approval for the creation of a lien over shares or gaming equipment and utensils of a concession holder.

 

   

The Macau government must give its prior approval to changes in control through a merger, consolidation, shares acquisition, or any act or conduct by any person whereby such person obtains control. Entities seeking to acquire control of a concessionaire must satisfy the Macau government with regards to a variety of stringent standards prior to assuming control. The Macau government may also require controlling shareholders, directors and key employees, to be investigated for suitability as part of the approval process of the transaction.

 

   

The maximum number of gaming concessions is six.

 

   

The term of a gaming concession is set in the concession contract and cannot exceed 10 years but the Chief Executive of Macau may exceptionally authorize, based on justified reasons, one or more extensions of the term of the concession up to the total period of three years.

 

   

The concessionaires’ general contractual compliance is subject to review by the DICJ every three years. In the event that the results of the review reveal non-compliance or lack of proactiveness in complying with the concession contracts, concessionaires should improve compliance within the deadline determined by the Secretary for Economy and Finance.

 

   

The concessionaires registered share capital shall not be less than MOP5 billion (equivalent to approximately US$621.6 million) and during the term of the concession their net assets shall not be less than such amount. The concessionaires must mandatorily notify the Chief Executive of Macau prior to executing large financial initiatives, which are defined as those with a value greater than

 

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MOP2.5 billion (equivalent to approximately US$310.8 million) regarding the internal movement of funds and MOP500 million (equivalent to approximately US$62.2 million) regarding salaries, remunerations, benefits of employees, and any other financial decisions.

 

   

The main objectives of the gaming law are, amongst others, safeguarding of national and Macau security, adequate diversification and sustainable development of the Macau economy, assurance that the development and operation of games of chance in casinos are in line with Macau’s policies and mechanisms in respect of combating the illegal flow of cross-border capital and preventing money laundering, and the scale, operation and practice of games of chance in casinos are subject to legal restrictions. A concession may be terminated if it poses a threat to national security or that of Macau.

 

   

The operation of games of chance in casinos is limited to the locations and premises authorized by the Chief Executive of Macau with such authorization having to take into account, amongst others, Macau urban planning, its impact on the social community and the opinion of the Specialized Committee for the Games of Chance Sector.

 

   

The concessionaires undertake to operate games of chance in self owned premises or premises leased or otherwise granted a right to use by the Macau government. Premises owned by a concessionaire will revert to the Macau government without compensation upon the concession expiration or earlier termination. The concessionaires may continue to operate games of chance in casinos by means of a contract in properties that are not owned by them for a period of three years from January 1, 2023 under authorization of the Chief Executive of Macau. After the end of such three-year transition period the concessionaires may only continue to operate games of chance in casino in properties that are not owned by them by engaging a managing company. If such locations are closed pursuant to the law or the concession contracts, new operation of games of chance in casino will not be permitted in such locations. The Macau government owns the Studio City Casino gaming and gaming support areas, and the Macau government has transferred these areas to the Gaming Operator for usage in its operations during the duration of the concession for a fee of MOP750.00 (equivalent to approximately US$93) per square meter for years 1 to 3 of the Concession Contract, subject to consumer price index increase in years 2 and 3 of the concession. The fee will increase to MOP2,500.00 (equivalent to approximately US$311) per square meter for years 4 to 10 of the concession, subject to consumer price index increase in years 5 to 10 of the concession.

 

   

The concessionaires shall assume certain corporate social responsibilities, including support for the development of local small and medium-sized enterprises; support the diversification of local industries, guaranteeing labor rights and interests, namely those concerning the guarantee of labor credits, on-the-job training and professional advancement of local employees, as well as a pension scheme designed to protect employees; hiring disabled or rehabilitated individuals; support for public interest activities; support for activities of an educational, scientific and technological, environmental protection, cultural and sporting nature, among others.

 

   

The concessionaires and the shareholders holding 5% or more of their registered share capital shall not hold directly any capital of another concessionaire for the operation of games of chance in casinos in Macau, and shall not hold indirectly 5% or more of its registered share capital.

 

   

Management companies are entities that have management powers over all or some casinos from one concessionaire and are subject to suitability reviews at DICJ’s discretion. The execution of a contract between a concessionaire and a managing company pursuant to which the company assumes or may assume management powers relating to the concessionaire is prohibited and any such contract will be deemed null and void. Notwithstanding, the Chief Executive of Macau may authorize and approve the engagement of a management company by a concessionaire provided that under such engagement, a concessionaire may only pay to the managing company management fees, with casino revenue sharing or payment of commissions not being permitted by any means. Members of the corporate bodies of a management company may not be members of a corporate body of a concessionaire or gaming promoter.

 

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The concessionaires must have a managing-director who is a Macau permanent resident and holds at least 15% of the registered share capital of the concessionaire.

 

   

The concessionaires are subject to the payment of an annual premium established in the concession contracts, which varies depending on the number of casinos that each concessionaire is authorized to operate, the number of authorized gaming tables and gaming machines, the type of games of chance operated, the location of the casinos, and other relevant criteria set by the Macau government.

 

   

If the average gross gaming revenue of the gaming tables or gaming machines does not reach a set minimum limit, the concessionaire must pay a special premium, in an amount equal to the difference between the amount of the special tax on gaming, calculated according to the average gross gaming revenue, and such minimum limit. The average gross revenue is calculated according to the maximum number of gaming tables and gaming machines authorized for the concessionaire in the year to which it relates, with the exception of the number of gaming tables and gaming machines authorized to operate provisionally during the period designated for such purpose. The annual minimum limit of the gross gaming revenue of each gaming table and each gaming machine, as well as the period designated for the provisional operation of gaming tables and gaming machines, are determined by dispatch from the Chief Executive of Macau. The annual minimum limit of the gross gaming revenue must be set out in view of the past gross gaming revenue of Macau and the current situation of the economic development of Macau, and may be adjusted exceptionally in case of extraordinary, unpredictable or force majeure incidents, and is currently in the amount of MOP7 million (equivalent to approximately US$870,233) annual gross gaming revenue for gaming tables and MOP300,000 (equivalent to approximately US$37,296) annual gross gaming revenue for gaming machines.

 

   

With respect to the gaming promotion activities, the concessionaires must inform the DICJ of any facts that may affect the solvency of gaming promoters, including the fact that they have been named as defendants in civil proceedings or have entered into loan or financing agreements that exceed their solvency, within a period of five days counted from the date of occurrence of the respective facts or the concessionaires’ knowledge thereof; inform the DICJ of facts that indicate the practice, by gaming promoters, of crimes and administrative offenses provided for in the law, within five days from the date of the concessionaires’ knowledge thereof, without prejudice to duties provided in other laws; supervise the activity of the gaming promoters, including their fulfillment of the duties provided in gaming laws and regulations; and adopt appropriate measures to prevent gaming promoters from conducting illegal activities in the casinos of the concessionaires.

 

   

Each gaming promoter can only conduct gaming promotion activities with one concessionaire and may only receive a commission, not being a gaming promoter permitted to share with the concessionaires, in any form whatsoever, the casino revenue.

 

   

The concessionaires are jointly and severally liable for administrative fines and civil liability arising from the exercise in their casinos of the authorized gaming promotion activity by gaming promoters, their directors and key employees, as well as their collaborators. Such joint and several liability may be excluded when it is proved that the concessionaire has responsibly fulfilled its supervision duty.

 

   

The maximum number of gaming tables and gaming machines that may be operated by the concessionaires is determined by dispatch from the Chief Executive of Macau and the gaming tables and gaming machines to be installed, added or reduced in each casino by the concessionaires is subject to authorization of the Secretary for Economy and Finance. The Secretary for Economy and Finance may reduce the number of gaming tables or gaming machines if the gross gaming revenue from gaming tables or gaming machines fails, for two consecutive years, to reach the minimum limit of the annual gross revenue determined by dispatch from the Chief Executive of Macau or if the authorized gaming tables or gaming machines are not fully utilized without just cause, by the concessionaires, within the deadline set out by the Secretary for Economy and Finance. Currently the maximum number of gaming tables that may be operated in Macau is 6,000 and the maximum number of gaming machines is 12,000 and the Gaming Operator has been authorized to operate 750 gaming tables and 2,100 gaming machines.

 

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The circulation of chips is subject to authorization from the Secretary for Economy and Finance, which may establish the maximum limit of the total amount of chips in circulation.

 

   

The concessionaires can only disseminate information or activities related to gaming in the zones for games of changes of the casinos, under the applicable laws and regulations.

 

   

The concessionaires and the companies of which they are dominant shareholders cannot be admitted to listing on stock exchanges.

 

   

An administrative sanctions regime is established with fines ranging from MOP100,000 (equivalent to approximately US$12,432) and MOP5,000,000 (equivalent to approximately US$621,595) and, depending on the seriousness of the offense, damages, fault, benefits obtained, economic situation and previous conduct, a supplemental penalty of total or partial closure of gaming areas for periods ranging from one month to one year.

 

   

In the event of dissolution of a current concessionaire for failing to obtain a new concession in the next tender, the shareholders of the concessionaire holding 5% or more of the concessionaire’s share capital as of the date of termination of the concession contract or the date of termination of the concession are jointly and severally liable for the concessionaire’s outstanding chips.

Non-compliance with these obligations could lead to the revocation of the Gaming Operator’s Concession Contract and could materially and adversely affect gaming operations at the Studio City Casino.

The Macau government has also enacted other gaming legislation, rules and policies. Further, it imposed policies, regulations and restrictions that affect the minimum age required for entrance into casinos in Macau, location requirements for sites with gaming machine lounges, supply and requirements of gaming machines, equipment and systems, instructions on promoting responsible gaming, restrictions on the reallocation of gaming tables between properties and other matters. In addition, the Macau government may consider enacting new regulations that may adversely affect the gaming operations at the Studio City Casino. The Gaming Operator’s inability to address the requirements or restrictions imposed by the Macau government under such legislation or rules could adversely affect the gaming operations at the Studio City Casino.

Gaming Activities Regulations

Macau Law no. 16/2022 regulates, among other things, the exercise of the gaming promotion activity. Such activity is subject to a gaming promoter license. Licenses are subject to annual renewal and a list of licensed gaming promoters is published in the DICJ’s website and is subject to regular updates. The issuance, renewal and cancellation of gaming promoter licenses are the responsibility of the Secretary for Economy and Finance, who also determines the maximum annual number of gaming promoters which each concessionaire may engage as published on the DICJ’s website.

The granting or renewal of a gaming promoter license may be requested by a commercial company that fulfills certain cumulative requirements, such as having its registered office in Macau, being a limited liability company by shares with the activity of gaming promotion as its exclusive business purpose, having a registered capital of not less than MOP10 million (equivalent to approximately US$1.2 million) fully paid up in cash, and net assets of not less than such amount during the license period, having as shareholders individuals only, having 50% or more of its registered capital being held by permanent residents of Macau who have completed 21 years of age, having agreed with one concessionaire the provision of gaming promotion services to the same, having provided a security deposit, not having any debts or fines imposed for breach of legal provisions relating to gaming under tax enforcement proceedings, having adequate financial capacity, not having the company and its shareholders, directors and key employees been declared insolvent or bankrupt, nor being responsible for debts arising from the insolvency or bankruptcy of third parties, and the company and its shareholders, directors and key employees being deemed suitable.

 

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Each gaming promoter can only conduct the gaming promotion activity with one concessionaire, and only for a commission. Gaming promoters are prohibited from resorting to the support of entities that are not their directors, employees or collaborators, in the exercise of the gaming promotion activity; from sharing, by any means, the revenues from the casinos with the concessionaire; from making, through the sharing of revenues from the casinos, the payment of commissions to any entity with which it cooperates; from cooperating with those who are prohibited from carrying out the activity of gaming promotion or of collaborator; and from depositing, by themselves or through third parties, chips or funds from third parties. The DICJ and the Macau Financial Services Bureau monitor each gaming promoter and its staff and collaborators. In October 2015, the DICJ issued specific accounting related instructions applicable to gaming promoters and their operations. Any failure by the gaming promoters to comply with such instructions may impact their license and ability to operate in Macau.

In addition, concessionaires are jointly and severally liable for administrative fines and civil liability arising from the exercise in their casinos of the authorized gaming promotion activity by gaming promoters, their directors and key employees, as well as their collaborators. Such joint and several liability may be excluded when it is proved that the concessionaire has responsibly fulfilled its supervision duty. Law no. 16/2022 also clarified that under Macau Administrative Regulation no. 6/2002 concessionaires may only be jointly and severally liable for the acceptance, in their casinos, of the deposit of funds or chips from third parties, by gaming promoters, their directors and their collaborators, as well as by the employees of the gaming promoters who exercise duties in the casinos, if such funds or chips were used in games of chance in their casino or were earned in these games. When assessing whether the funds or chips deposited were used in games of chance in casino or were earned in these games, the law provides that it shall be taken into account, in particular, the concessionaire’s records.

Furthermore, gaming promoters, including their shareholders, directors, and key employees, are subject to verification of suitability based on criteria such as reputation, tendency to take on excessive risks in view of how they usually conduct business or the nature of their professional activities, their economic and financial situation, existence of well-founded suspicions on the legality of the origin of the funds to be used in the gaming promotion activity or regarding the true identity of the holder of such funds, existence of improper transactions with criminal groups, and indictment or conviction for crime punishable by imprisonment of three years or more.

In addition to the licensing and suitability assessment process performed by the DICJ, all of the Gaming Operator’s gaming promoters (if any) undergo thorough vetting procedures by the Gaming Operator. The Gaming Operator conducts background checks and also conducts periodic reviews of the activities of each gaming promoter (if any), its employees and its collaborators for possible non-compliance with Macau legal and regulatory requirements. Such reviews generally include investigations into compliance with applicable anti-money laundering laws and regulations as well as tax withholding requirements.

Concessionaires are required to report periodically on commissions paid to their gaming promoters. A 5% tax must be withheld on commissions paid by a concessionaire to its gaming promoters. Under Law no. 16/2022 and in accordance with the Secretary for Economy and Finance Dispatch no. 90/2022, a commission cap of 1.25% of net rolling has been in effect. Any advantages or liberalities offered or provided, in Macau or abroad, directly or indirectly, to the gaming promoter by the concessionaire, a company in which the concessionaire holds participation, or others with which the concessionaire is in a group relationship, shall be considered and calculated as commission and be within such commission cap. The commission cap regulations impose fines, ranging from MOP2,000,000 (equivalent to approximately US$248,638) up to MOP5,000,000 (equivalent to approximately US$621,595) on concessionaires that do not comply with the cap and other fines, ranging from MOP600,000 (equivalent to approximately US$74,591) up to MOP1,500,000 (equivalent to approximately US$186,478) on concessionaires that do not comply with their reporting obligations regarding commission payments. If breached by the concessionaire, the legislation on commission caps has a sanction enabling the relevant government authority to determine the closure, in whole or in part, of the areas for games of chance, for a period of one month to one year, and/or to make public a government decision imposing a fine on a concessionaire, by publishing such decision on the DICJ website and in two Macau newspapers (in Chinese and

 

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Portuguese respectively). We believe the Gaming Operator has implemented the necessary internal control systems to ensure compliance with the commission cap and reporting obligations in accordance with applicable rules and regulations.

The exercise of the activity of collaborators and managing companies is also governed under Macau Law no. 16/2022. Collaborators, managing companies, as well as managing companies’ shareholders holding an amount equal to or greater than 5% of their registered capital, directors, and key employees are subject to suitability assessment process performed by the DICJ.

The issuance and renewal of the authorization of collaborator are the responsibility of the DICJ and may be requested by those who fulfill certain requirements, including having completed 21 years of age, being deemed suitable, having agreed to collaborate with, at least, one gaming promoter, and having provided a security deposit. The maximum annual total number of collaborators is set out by the DICJ and published on its website. Collaborators shall not perform operations of credit concession for gaming or betting in casino, on behalf of any person, and shall be prohibited from depositing, by itself or through third parties, chips or funds from third parties.

A concessionaire that intends to engage a managing company to provide casino management services must obtain authorization from the Chief Executive of Macau and submit the draft management agreement for approval. The business purpose of the managing company is limited to the management of the concessionaires’ casinos. A managing company can only enter into a managing agreement with one concessionaire, and can only receive management fees from the concessionaire, with casino revenue sharing or payment of commissions not being permitted. Managing companies are prohibited from managing the financial activities of casinos, including in matters of accounting or settlement of chips and gaming funds, as well as from depositing, by themselves or through third parties, chips or funds from third parties.

Macau Law no. 16/2022 further established the crime of unlawful deposit and the crime of disobedience. The crime of unlawful deposit is applicable to concessionaires, gaming promoters or managing companies, their directors or representatives, or persons under their authority, in the exercise of their duties, or collaborators, in the exercise of their activity, who deposit funds from third parties not intended for gaming, and is punishable by imprisonment from 2 to 5 years in case of individuals, or fines up to MOP18 million (equivalent to approximately US$2.2 million) or judicial dissolution in case of legal persons. The crime of disobedience is applicable to whoever refuses to fulfill the access and presence of the DICJ and Macau Financial Services Bureau supervisory personnel in the areas subject to supervision until the conclusion of the supervisory action, or the presentation or provision of the documents, data and assets required under the terms of the law by the supervisory personnel, or to whoever does not comply with the measure of preventive suspension of activity, with individuals being subject to imprisonment from 1 to 2 years and legal persons being punishable by fines up to MOP9 million (equivalent to approximately US$1.1 million) or judicial dissolution. In addition to such penalties, certain accessory penalties may be applied, including closure of gaming areas, prohibition of the exercise of the activity of gaming promotion, collaborator or management of casinos, for a period of 1 month to 2 years, interdiction on applying for a gaming promoter license or collaborator authorization for a period of 1 to 2 years, judicial injunction or publication of the decision in two Macau newspapers (in Chinese and Portuguese, respectively) and through public notice.

Gaming Credit Regulations

Macau Law no. 5/2004 has legalized the extension of gaming credit to patrons or gaming promoters by concessionaires. Gaming promoters may also extend credit to patrons upon obtaining an authorization by a concessionaire to carry out such activity. Assigning or transferring one’s authorization to extend gaming credit is not permitted. This statute sets forth filing obligations for those extending credit and the supervising role of the DICJ in this activity. Gaming debts contracted pursuant to this statute are a source of civil obligations and may be enforced in courts in Macau.

 

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Access to Casinos and Gaming Areas Regulations

Under Law no. 10/2012, as amended pursuant to Law no. 17/2018, the minimum age required for entrance into casinos in Macau is 21 years of age. The director of the DICJ may authorize employees under 21 years of age to temporarily enter casinos or gaming areas, after considering their special technical qualifications. In addition, off-duty gaming related employees of concessionaires and gaming promoters may not, starting from December 2019, access any casinos or gaming areas, except during the Chinese New Year festive season or under specific circumstances.

Smoking Regulations

Under the Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Law, as amended pursuant to Law no. 9/2017, smoking on casino premises is only permitted in authorized segregated smoking lounges with no gaming activities and such smoking lounges are required to meet certain standards determined by the Macau government.

Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Regulations

In conjunction with current gaming laws and regulations, the Gaming Operator is required to comply with the laws and regulations relating to anti-money laundering activities in Macau. Law no. 2/2006 (as amended pursuant to Law no. 3/2017), the Administrative Regulation no. 7/2006 (as amended pursuant to Administrative Regulation no. 17/2017) and the DICJ Instruction no. 1/2016 in effect from May 13, 2016 (as amended pursuant to DICJ Instruction no. 1/2019), govern the Gaming Operator’s compliance requirements with respect to identifying, reporting and preventing anti-money laundering and terrorism financing crimes at its casinos in Macau. Under these laws and regulations, the Gaming Operator is required to:

 

   

implement internal procedures and rules governing the prevention of anti-money laundering and terrorism financing crimes which are subject to prior approval from DICJ;

 

   

identify and evaluate the money laundering and terrorism financing risk inherent to gaming activities;

 

   

identify any customer who is in a stable business relationship with the Gaming Operator, who is a politically exposed person or any customer or transaction where there is a sign of money laundering or financing of terrorism or which involves significant sums of money in the context of the transaction, even if any sign of money laundering is absent;

 

   

refuse to deal with any customers who fail to provide any information requested by the Gaming Operator;

 

   

keep records on the identification of a customer for a period of five years;

 

   

establish a regime for electronic transfers;

 

   

keep individual records of all transactions related to gaming which involve credit securities;

 

   

keep records of all electronic transactions for amounts equal to or exceeding MOP8,000 (equivalent to approximately US$995) in cases of occasional transactions and MOP120,000 (equivalent to approximately US$14,918) in cases of transactions that arose in the context of a continuous business relationship;

 

   

notify the Macau Finance Information Bureau if there is any sign of money laundering or financing of terrorism;

 

   

adopt as compliance function and appoint compliance officers; and

 

   

cooperate with the Macau government by providing all required information and documentation requested in relation to anti-money laundering activities.

Under Article 2 of Administrative Regulation no. 7/2006 (as amended pursuant to Administrative Regulation no. 17/2017) and the DICJ Instruction no. 1/2016 (as amended pursuant to DICJ Instruction

 

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no.1/2019), the Gaming Operator is required to track and report transactions and granting of credit that are of MOP500,000 (equivalent to approximately US$62,159) or above. Pursuant to the legal requirements above, if the customer provides all required information, after submitting the reports, the Gaming Operator may continue to deal with those customers that were reported to the DICJ and, in case of suspicious transactions, to the Macau Finance Information Bureau.

The Gaming Operator employs internal controls and procedures designed to help ensure that its gaming and other operations are conducted in a professional manner and in compliance with internal control requirements issued by the DICJ set forth in its instruction on anti-money laundering, the applicable laws and regulations in Macau, as well as the requirements set forth in the Concession Contract.

The Gaming Operator has developed a comprehensive anti-money laundering policy and related procedures covering its anti-money laundering responsibilities, which have been approved by the DICJ, and has training programs in place to ensure that all relevant employees understand such anti-money laundering policy and procedures. The Gaming Operator also uses an integrated IT system to track and automatically generate significant cash transaction reports and, as permitted by the DICJ and the Macau Finance Information Bureau, submit those reports electronically.

Responsible Gaming Regulations

On October 18, 2019, the DICJ issued Instruction no. 4/2019, which came into effect on December 27, 2019, setting out measures for the implementation of responsible gaming principles. Under this instruction, concessionaires are required to implement certain measures to promote responsible gambling, including making information available on the risks of gambling, responsible gambling and odds, both inside and outside the casinos and gaming areas and through electronic means; creation of information and counseling kiosks and a hotline; adequate regulation of lighting inside casinos and gaming areas; self-exclusion and exclusion at third party request procedures, off-duty gaming related employees entry restriction procedures, physical entry requirements, preventive measures for restricted access by persons under 21 years of age; public exhibition of time; creation and training of teams and a coordinator responsible for promoting responsible gambling.

Law no. 16/2001, as amended in June 2022 pursuant to Law no. 7/2022, or the Macau Gaming Operations Law, also sets out responsible gaming obligations, including the obligation of the concessionaires to prepare a plan for the promotion of responsible gaming, as well as to adopt measures that allow the public, including tourists, to have sufficient information to assume a responsible, moderate and controlled posture towards gaming. These measures include providing players with information about responsible gaming behaviors, as well as about gaming dependency and addiction issues, including the information on responsible gaming; adequate measures to ensure the prohibition of entry into casinos of those to whom access is prohibited; information on the dissemination of the measure of interdiction of entry in casino upon request, as well as the means of submitting such request; creation of a specialized gaming group to provide adequate assistance and counseling services to those in need; and training and recycling actions on responsible gaming aimed at employees, as well as counselling services. Furthermore, the concessionaires must annually submit to the DICJ a report on the execution of the plan for the promotion of responsible gaming of such year, as well as a plan for the promotion of responsible gaming for the subsequent year.

Control of Cross-border Transportation of Cash Regulations

On June 12, 2017, Law no. 6/2017 with respect to the control of cross-border transportation of cash and other negotiable instruments to the bearer, was enacted. Such law came into effect on November 1, 2017. In accordance with such law, all individuals entering Macau with an amount in cash or negotiable instrument to the bearer equal to or higher than the amount determined by the order of the Chief Executive of Macau at MOP120,000 (equivalent to approximately US$14,918) will be required to declare such amount to the customs authorities. The customs authorities may also request an individual exiting Macau to declare if such individual is

 

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carrying an amount in cash or negotiable instruments to the bearer equal to or higher to such amount. Individuals that fail to duly complete the required declaration may be subject to a fine (ranging from 1% to 5% of the amount that exceeds the amount determined by the order of the Chief Executive of Macau for declaration purposes, such fine being at least MOP1,000 (equivalent to approximately US$124) and not exceeding MOP500,000 (equivalent to approximately US$62,159)). In the event the relevant customs authorities find that the cash or negotiable instrument to the bearer carried by an individual while entering or exiting Macau may be associated with or result from any criminal activity, such incident shall be notified to the relevant criminal authorities and the relevant amounts shall be seized pending investigation. See “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks relating to Conducting Business and Operating in Macau — Studio City Casino’s operations could be adversely affected by foreign exchange restrictions on the Renminbi.”

Prevention and Suppression of Corruption in External Trade Regulations

In addition to the general criminal laws regarding corrupt practices in the public and private sector that are in force in Macau, on January 1, 2015, Law no. 10/2014, criminalizing corruption acts in external trade and providing for a system for prevention and suppression of such criminal acts came into effect in Macau. Our internal policies, address this issue.

Asset Freezing Enforcement Regulations

On August 29, 2016, Law no. 6/2016 with respect to the framework for the enforcement of asset freezing orders, which comprised of United Nations Security Council sanctions resolutions for the fight against terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, was enacted. Under this law, the Chief Executive of Macau is the competent authority to enforce freezing orders and the Asset Freeze Coordination Commission must assist the Chief Executive in all technical aspects of such enforcement. Among other entities, concessionaires are subject to certain obligations and duties regarding the freezing of assets ordered by the United Nations Security Council sanctions resolutions, including reporting and cooperation obligations.

Foreign Exchange Regulations

Concessionaires in Macau may be authorized to open foreign exchange counters at their casinos and gaming areas subject to compliance with the Foreign Exchange Agencies Constitution and Operation Law (Decree-Law no. 38/97/M), the Exchange Rate Regime (Decree-Law no. 39/97/M) and the specific requirements determined by the Monetary Authority of Macau. The transaction permitted to be performed in such counters is limited to buying and selling bank bills and coins in foreign currency, and to buying travelers checks.

Intellectual Property Rights Regulations

Our subsidiaries incorporated in Macau are subject to local intellectual property regulations. Intellectual property protection in Macau is supervised by the Intellectual Property Department of the Economic and Technological Development Bureau of the Macau government.

The applicable regime in Macau with regard to intellectual property rights is defined by two main laws. The Industrial Property Code (Decree-Law no. 97/99/M, as amended pursuant to Law no. 11/2001), covers (i) inventions meeting the patentability requirements; (ii) semiconductor topography products; (iii) trademarks; (iv) designations of origin and geographical indications; and (v) awards. The Regime of Copyright and Related Rights (Decree-Law no. 43/99/M, as amended by Law no. 5/2012), protects intellectual works and creations in the literary, scientific and artistic fields, by copyright and related rights. See “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Relating to Our Business — The possible infringement of key intellectual property used in our business, the dissemination of proprietary information used in our business or the infringement or alleged infringement of intellectual property rights belonging to third parties could adversely affect our business.”

 

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Personal Data Regulations

Processing of personal data by our subsidiaries in Macau is subject to compliance with the Personal Data Protection Act (Law no. 8/2005), in the case of Melco Resorts Macau, any instructions issued by DICJ from time to time. The Office for Personal Data Protection, or GPDP, is the regulatory authority in Macau specially in charge of supervising and enforcing the Personal Data Protection Act. Breaches are subject to civil liability, administrative and criminal sanctions.

The legal framework and the instructions issued by DICJ require that certain procedures must be adopted before collecting, processing and/or transferring personal data, including obtaining consent from the data subject and/or notifying or requesting authorization from the GPDP and/or DICJ, as applicable, prior to processing personal data.

Cybersecurity Regulations

Law no. 13/2019, the Cybersecurity Law came into effect on December 21, 2019 and is intended to protect networks, systems and data of public and private operators of critical infra-structures, among which operators of games of chance in casino are included.

The cybersecurity system is composed of a Cybersecurity Commission, a Cybersecurity Alert and Response Incident Centre (“CARIC”) and cybersecurity supervisory entities.

Among other duties, private infrastructure operators are required to appoint a suitable and experienced person to be responsible for handling its cybersecurity and to be permanently reachable by CARIC, create a cybersecurity department, implement adequate internal cybersecurity procedures, conduct evaluations of its networks’ security and risks, submit annual reports to their supervisory entity and inform CARIC and the respective supervisory entity of any cybersecurity incidents.

Additional regulations have been enacted to further determine and detail how the above-mentioned obligations are to be fulfilled.

Labor Quotas Regulations

All businesses in Macau must apply to the Labor Affairs Bureau for labor quotas to import non-resident unskilled workers from the PRC and other regions or countries. Non-resident skilled workers are also subject to the issuance of a work permit by the Macau government, which is given individually on a case-by-case basis. Businesses are free to employ Macau residents in any position, as by definition all Macau residents have the right to work in Macau. Melco Resorts has, through its subsidiaries, two main groups of labor quotas in Macau, one to import non-skilled workers from the PRC and the other to import non-skilled workers from all other countries. The Gaming Operator is not currently allowed to hire non-Macau resident dealers and supervisors under the Macau government’s policy.

Pursuant to Macau social security laws, Macau employers must register their employees under a mandatory social security fund and make social security contributions for each of its resident employees and pay a special duty for each of its non-resident employees on a quarterly basis. Employers must also buy insurance to cover employment accidents and occupational illnesses for all employees.

Minimum Salary Regulations

On April 27, 2020, Law no. 5/2020, with respect to minimum salary, was enacted. Such law came into effect on November 1, 2020. In accordance with such law, the monthly minimum salary in Macau is MOP6,656 (equivalent to approximately US$827) per month (excluding overtime, night and shift allowances and regular bonus related payments). The minimum salary requirement applies to all workers in Macau, except domestic helpers and special needs workers.

 

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Land Regulations

Land in Macau is legally divided into plots. In most cases, private interests in real property located in Macau are obtained through long-term leases from the Macau government.

Our subsidiary has entered into a land concession contract for the land on which the Studio City property is located. The contract has a term of 25 years and is renewable for further consecutive periods of ten years and imposes, among other conditions, a development period, a land premium payment, a nominal annual government land use fee, which may be adjusted every five years, and a guarantee deposit upon acceptance of the land lease terms, which are subject to adjustments from time to time in line with the amounts paid as annual land use fees.

The land is initially granted on a provisional basis and registered as such with the Macau Real Property Registry and only upon completion of the development is the land concession converted into definitive status and so registered with the Macau Real Property Registry.

Restrictions on Distribution of Profits Regulations

All of our subsidiaries incorporated in Macau are required to set aside a minimum of 25% of the entity’s profit after tax to the legal reserve until the balance of the legal reserve reaches a level equivalent to 50% of the entity’s share capital in accordance with the provisions of the Macau Commercial Code. The legal reserve sets aside an amount from the subsidiaries’ statements of operations and is not available for distribution to the shareholders of the subsidiaries. The appropriation of legal reserve is recorded in the subsidiaries’ financial statements in the year in which it is approved by the shareholders of the relevant subsidiaries.

As of December 31, 2022, the balance of the reserve amounted to US$6,000.

FCPA

The FCPA prohibits us and our staff and agents from offering or giving money or any other item of value to win or retain business or to influence any act or decision of any foreign official. The Code includes specific FCPA-related provisions. See “— Our Internal Control Policies.”

The Gaming Operator’s Concession

The Concession Regime

The Macau government conducted an international tender process for gaming concessions in Macau in 2022, and granted six gaming concessions to SJM, MGM Grand, Galaxy, Venetian Macau Limited (“VML”), Wynn Macau and Melco Resorts Macau, respectively. Subconcessions are prohibited. Though there are no restrictions on the number of casinos or gaming areas that may be operated under each concession, Macau government approval is required for the commencement of operations of any casino or gaming area. Prior to the tendering process in 2022, the subconcessionaires that entered into subconcession contracts with Wynn Macau, SJM and Galaxy were Melco Resorts Macau, MGM Grand Paradise and VML, respectively. The Gaming Operator executed the Subconcession Contract with Wynn Macau on September 8, 2006, which was extended until December 31, 2022 pursuant to the execution of an Amendment Agreement to the Subconcession Contract dated June 23, 2022, with Wynn Macau continuing to develop and run hotel operations and casino projects independent of the Gaming Operator. Upon the completion of the tender process for new concessions, the Gaming Operator was granted with a new gaming concession by the Macau government for a period of 10 years, effective from January 1, 2023 until December 31, 2032, and entered into the respective Concession Contract on December 16, 2022.

A summary of the key terms of the Concession Contract is as follows.

 

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All concessionaires must pay a special gaming tax of 35% of gross gaming revenues, defined as all gaming revenues derived from casino or gaming areas, plus an annual gaming premium of:

 

   

MOP30 million (equivalent to approximately US$3.7 million) per annum fixed premium;

 

   

MOP300,000 (equivalent to approximately US$37,296) per annum per VIP gaming table;

 

   

MOP150,000 (equivalent to approximately US$18,648) per annum per mass market gaming table; and

 

   

MOP1,000 (equivalent to approximately US$124) per annum per electric or mechanical gaming

subject to a minimum annual payment of an amount required for the operation of 500 gaming tables and 1,000 electronic gaming machines.

A special premium may be due by the Gaming Operator in the event the average gross gaming revenue of the Gaming Operator’s gaming tables does not reach the annual minimum of MOP7,000,000 (equivalent to approximately US$870,233) and the average gross gaming revenue of the gaming machines does not reach the annual minimum of MOP300,000 (equivalent to approximately US$37,296). The amount of the special premium is equivalent to the difference between the amount of the special gaming tax paid by the Gaming Operator and the amount that would be paid under the annual minimum set average gross gaming revenue for gaming tables and gaming machines.

The Concession Contract in Macau

The Concession Contract in Macau provides for the terms and conditions of the concession granted to the Gaming Operator with expiration on December 31, 2032. The Gaming Operator, pursuant to a legal restriction applicable to all concessionaires, does not have the right to grant a subconcession or transfer the operation to third parties.

On December 16, 2022, the Gaming Operator was granted the right to operate games of chance in casinos in Macau under a new gaming concession effective from January 1, 2023 until the expiration of the concession on December 31, 2032.

A summary of the key terms of the Concession Contract is as follows.

Gaming and Non-Gaming Investment Obligations. The Concession Contract requires the Gaming Operator to make a minimum investment in Macau of MOP11,823,700,000 (equivalent to approximately US$1.5 billion) The investment plan includes gaming and non-gaming related projects in the expansion of foreign market patrons, conventions and exhibitions, entertainment shows, sports events, art and culture, health and well-being, thematic entertainment, gastronomy, community and maritime tourism and others. Of the total investment amount referred to above, MOP10,008,000,000 (equivalent to approximately US$1.2 billion) will be applied to non-gaming related projects, with the balance applied to gaming related projects. The Gaming Operator has undertaken to carry out incremental additional non-gaming investment in the amount of approximately 20% of its initial non-gaming investment, or MOP2,003,000,000 (equivalent to approximately US$249.0 million), in the event Macau’s annual gross gaming revenue reaches MOP180,000,000,000 (equivalent to approximately US$22.4 billion) (“Incremental Investment Trigger”). This incremental investment amount is reduced to 16%, 12%, 8%, 4% of the initial non-gaming investment amount or nil, if the Incremental Investment Trigger occurs in year 6, year 7, year 8, year 9 or year 10 of the Concession, respectively.

If, after the completion of the execution of the investment plan under the Concession Contract, the total amount of expenses made by the concessionaire, directly or, with approval from the Macau government, indirectly, is lower than the global amount and the amount committed at the time of activation of the Incremental Investment Trigger, the concessionaire undertakes to use the remaining amount on projects correlated to its activity to be designated by the concessionaire and accepted by the Macau government and/or on projects that are designated by the Macau government with significant public benefit to Macau.

 

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During the implementation of the investment plan under the Concession Contract, the Macau government may request the concessionaire to provide any document or to amend the implementation of projects contained in the investment plans to ensure compliance with current technical norms or rules and the required quality standard. However, the Macau government shall not impose any amendment that may result in an increase of the global investment amount and the amount committed at the time of activation of the Incremental Investment Trigger.

The execution of the investment plan under the Concession Contract is subject to the supervision of the Macau government, with the concessionaire being required to submit to the Macau government’s approval on an annual basis the proposal for the execution of specific projects that it intends to execute in the subsequent year, which shall contain, at least, the content of such projects, the amount of the investment, and the deadline for execution. Furthermore, the concessionaire must submit to the Macau government on an annual basis a report on the execution, in the previous year, of the investment plan under the Concession Contract and of the approved proposal for the execution of the specific investment projects, which must contain, at least, an update on the execution of the specific investment projects, the invested amount, the deadline and the results of its execution. The concessionaire must also submit any other additional information as requested by the Macau government.

Payments. Concession premiums and taxes, computed in various ways depending upon the type of gaming or activity involved, are payable to the Macau government. The method for computing these fees and taxes may be changed from time to time by the Macau government. Depending upon the particular fee or tax involved, these fees and taxes are payable either monthly or annually and are based upon either a percentage of the gross revenues or the number and type of gaming devices operated. In addition to special gaming taxes of 35% of gross gaming revenues, the Gaming Operator is also required to contribute to the Macau government an annual amount equivalent to 2% of the gross gaming revenues to a public fund that has as purposes the promotion, development or study of cultural, social, economic, educational, scientific, academic and philanthropic actions. Furthermore, the Gaming Operator is also obligated to contribute to Macau an amount equivalent to 3% of the gross gaming revenues for urban development, tourism promotion and the social security of Macau. The Gaming Operator is required to collect and pay, through withholding, statutory taxes on commissions or other remunerations paid to gaming promoters.

Termination Rights. The Macau government has the right to unilaterally terminate the Gaming Operator’s concession in the event of non-compliance by us with our basic obligations under the concession and applicable Macau laws. Upon termination, all of the Gaming Operator’s casino premises and gaming equipment, would revert or be transferred to the Macau government automatically without compensation to the Gaming Operator and the Gaming Operator would cease to generate any revenues from these operations. In many of these instances, the Concession Contract does not provide a specific cure period within which any such events may be cured and, instead, the Gaming Operator may be dependent on consultations and negotiations with the Macau government to give it an opportunity to remedy any such default. The Gaming Operator is not granted with explicit rights of veto, or of prior consultation. The Macau government may be able to unilaterally rescind the Concession Contract upon the following termination events:

 

   

the operation of gaming without permission or operation of business which does not fall within the business scope of the concession;

 

   

abandonment of approved business or suspension of operations of our gaming business in Macau without reasonable grounds;

 

   

transfer of all or part of the Gaming Operator’s operation in Macau in violation of the relevant laws and administrative regulations governing the operation of games of chance in casino in Macau and without Macau government approval;

 

   

failure to pay taxes, premiums, levies or other amounts payable to the Macau government;

 

   

refusal or failure to resume operations following the temporary assumption of operations by the Macau government;

 

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repeated opposition to the supervision and inspection by the Macau government and failure to comply with decisions and recommendations of the Macau government, especially those of the DICJ, applicable to the Gaming Operator;

 

   

failure to provide or supplement the guarantee deposit or the guarantees specified in the concession within the prescribed period;

 

   

bankruptcy or insolvency of the Gaming Operator;

 

   

fraudulent activity harming public interest;

 

   

serious and repeated violation of the applicable rules for carrying out games of chance in casino or damage to the fairness of games of chance in casino;

 

   

systematic non-compliance with the Macau Gaming Operations Law’s or Concession Contract’s obligations; or

 

   

non-compliance with the investment amount and the respective criteria provided for in the Concession Contract, within the deadline set out by the Secretary for Economy and Finance.

In addition, the Macau government may, from the eighth year of the Concession, redeem the Concession by notice to the Gaming Operator at least one year in advance. Pursuant to such redemption, the Macau government would assume all rights and obligations of the Gaming Operator resulting from business legally and validly conducted by the Gaming Operator before the date of the redemption notice and the Gaming Operator would have a right to obtain reasonable and fair compensation under applicable Macau law.

Ownership and Capitalization. Set out below are the key terms in relation to ownership and capitalization under the Concession Contract:

 

   

the registered share capital and net asset value of the Gaming Operator cannot be less than MOP5,000,000,000 (equivalent to approximately US$621,595,000) and, to guarantee its performance of certain of its legal and contractual obligations, including labor obligations, the Gaming Operator must maintain a guarantee issued by a Macau SAR bank in favor of the Macau SAR in the amount of MOP1,000,000,000 (equivalent to approximately US$124,319,000) until 180 days after the earlier of the expiration or termination of the Concession;

 

   

the managing director of the Gaming Operator must be a permanent resident of the Macau SAR and must hold at least 15% of the registered share capital of the Gaming Operator;

 

   

any person who directly acquires voting rights in the Gaming Operator will be subject to authorization from the Macau government;

 

   

the Gaming Operator will be required to take the necessary measures to ensure that any person who directly or indirectly acquires more than 5% of the shares in the Gaming Operator would be subject to authorization from the Macau government, except when such acquisition is wholly made through the shares of publicly-listed companies tradable at a stock exchange;

 

   

any person who directly or indirectly acquires more than 5% of the shares in the Gaming Operator will be required to report the acquisition to the Macau government (except when such acquisition is wholly made through shares tradable on a stock exchange as a publicly-listed company);

 

   

the Macau government’s prior approval would be required for any recapitalization plan of the Gaming Operator; and

 

   

the Chief Executive of Macau could require the increase of the Gaming Operator’s share capital, if deemed necessary.

Others. In addition, the Concession Contract contains various general covenants and obligations and other provisions, including special duties of cooperation, special duties of information, and execution of the Gaming Operator’s investment obligations.

 

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Transfers of property and credit rights of the Gaming Operator exceeding MOP100,000,000 (equivalent to approximately US$12,432,000) and loan agreements or similar arrangements executed by the Gaming Operator as borrower or creditor equal to or exceeding that amount are each subject to approval by the Macau SAR government, except for those loan agreements related to credit granted for gaming purposes. The issue of debt securities by the Gaming Operator is also subject to approval by the Macau government and the Concession prohibits the Gaming Operator from being listed on a stock exchange. The Concession requires that prior notice be given to the Macau government of financial decisions relating to the internal movement of funds of the Gaming Operator exceeding 50% of its registered capital, financial decisions relating to salaries, remuneration or benefits of employees, among others, exceeding 10% of its registered capital and other financial decisions exceeding 10% of its registered capital.

The Concession Contract provides for the Gaming Operator’s right to use the casino premises and related land for the purpose of operating games of chance under the Concession Contract during the term of the Concession Contract. On the termination or expiry of the Concession Contract, the casino premises operated by the concessionaire and the gaming equipment would automatically revert or be transferred to the Macau SAR without compensation

Taxation

We are domiciled in the Cayman Islands and our primary business operations are conducted through our subsidiaries. Under the current laws of the Cayman Islands, we are not subject to tax on income or capital gains. In addition, dividend payments are not subject to withholding tax in the Cayman Islands.

Hong Kong

Our subsidiaries incorporated in Hong Kong and one of our subsidiaries incorporated in the BVI are subject to Hong Kong profits tax on their taxable income earned in or derived from Hong Kong at a uniform tax rate of 16.5%. Payments of dividends by our subsidiaries to us are not subject to withholding tax in Hong Kong.

Macau

Our subsidiaries incorporated in Macau are subject to Macau complementary tax of up to 12% on profits earned in or derived from their activities conducted in Macau. The Gaming Operator applied for and was granted the benefit of a corporate tax holiday on Macau complementary tax (but not gaming tax) from 2017 through 2021 on profits generated from gaming operations. The Gaming Operator was further granted such benefit for the period from January 1, 2022 to June 26, 2022, and from 27 June 2022 to 31 December 2022. The Gaming Operator has applied for an extension of the corporate tax holiday for the period from 1 January 2023 through 31 December 2027, and the application is currently pending approval by the Macau government.

In January 2017, the Macau government granted an extension of the Macau complementary tax exemption for our subsidiary, Studio City Entertainment, until 2021, on profits generated from income received from the Gaming Operator, to the extent that such income results from gaming operations within Studio City Casino and has been subject to gaming tax. Studio City Entertainment has applied for an extension of the complementary tax exemption for 2022 and for the period from January 1, 2023 through December 31, 2027 and such applications are currently pending approval by the Macau government. Dividend distributions by Studio City Entertainment continue to be subject to Macau complementary tax. We remain subject to Macau complementary tax on our non-gaming profits.

In September 2017, the Macau government granted Studio City Hotels the declaration of touristic utility purpose pursuant to which Studio City Hotels is entitled to a property tax holiday for a period of twelve years on the immovable property to which the touristic utility was granted, owned or operated by Studio City Hotels. Under such tax holiday, Studio City Hotels is allowed to double the maximum rates applicable to

 

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depreciation and reintegration for the purposes of assessment of the Macau complementary tax. In August 2021, the hotel license of Studio City Hotel was transferred from Studio City Hotels to Studio City Developments, the owner of the Studio City property. We have applied for the declaration of touristic utility purpose pursuant to which Studio City Developments would be entitled to the property tax holiday and be allowed to double the maximum rates applicable to depreciation and reintegration for the purposes of assessment of the Macau complementary tax to be granted to Studio City Developments. Such application is currently pending and there is no assurance that the Macau government will extend such benefit to Studio City Developments.

 

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C. ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

We are a Cayman Islands holding company for Studio City. Our operations are conducted by our subsidiaries. Investors may never directly hold equity interests in our operating subsidiaries.

The following diagram illustrates our organizational structure, including the place of formation, ownership interest and affiliation of our significant subsidiaries, as of March 24, 2023:

 

LOGO

 

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Notes:

 

1.

Includes 747,288 Class A ordinary shares held by Melco International. See “Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions — A. Major Shareholders.”

 

2.

Reflects 124,596,560 Class A ordinary shares of SCI represented by ADSs. Information regarding beneficial ownership of the Class A ordinary shares is reported as of December 31, 2022 and is based on the information contained in the Schedule 13G/A filed by New Cotai, LLC with the SEC on February 9, 2023.

 

3.

New Cotai also has a Participation Interest in MSC Cotai which represents its economic right to receive an amount equal to approximately 9.4% of the dividends, distributions or other consideration paid to the Company by MSC Cotai, if any, from time to time. New Cotai may exchange all or a portion of its Participation Interest for Class A ordinary shares, subject to certain conditions. See “Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions — B. Related Party Transactions — Pre-IPO Organizational Transactions.” If New Cotai were to exercise its right to exchange all of the Participation Interest for Class A ordinary shares, New Cotai would receive 72,511,760 Class A ordinary shares and the corresponding number of Class B ordinary shares held by New Cotai would be surrendered and canceled.

 

4.

Reflects 114,020,172 Class A ordinary shares of SCI represented by ADSs. Information regarding beneficial ownership is reported as of December 31, 2022 and is based on the information contained in the Schedule 13G/A filed by Silver Point Capital L.P. with the SEC on February 14, 2023.

 

5.

The remaining 50% of the equity interests of these companies are owned by Studio City Holdings Five Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company. The 50% interest held by Studio City Holdings Five Limited in various Studio City companies incorporated in the British Virgin Islands is non-voting.

 

6.

3.96% and 1% of the equity interests are owned by Studio City Holdings Four Limited and Studio City Holdings Five Limited, respectively.

 

7.

0.02% of the equity interests are owned by Studio City Holdings Five Limited.

See “Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions — A. Major Shareholders” for more information regarding the beneficial ownership in our Company and “Exhibit 8.1 — List of Significant Subsidiaries.”

D. PROPERTY, PLANT AND EQUIPMENT

See “Item 4. Information on the Company — B. Business Overview” and “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects — E. Critical Accounting Estimates — Property and Equipment and Other Long-lived Assets” for information regarding our material tangible property, plant and equipment.

 

ITEM 4A.

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 5.

OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW AND PROSPECTS

The following discussion should be read in conjunction with, and is qualified in its entirety by, the audited consolidated financial statements and the notes thereto in this annual report on Form 20-F. Certain statements in this “Operating and Financial Review and Prospects” are forward-looking statements. See “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” regarding these statements.

Overview

We are a holding company and, through our subsidiaries, operate the non-gaming businesses of Studio City. Studio City Casino is operated by the Gaming Operator, one of the subsidiaries of Melco Resorts and a

 

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holder of a gaming concession. Our future operating results are subject to significant business, economic, regulatory and competitive uncertainties and risks, many of which are beyond our control. See “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Relating to Our Business.” For detailed information regarding our operations and development projects, see “Item 4. Information on the Company — B. Business Overview.”

A. OPERATING RESULTS

Operations

Our principal operating activities are the provision of services pursuant to a casino contract and the hospitality business in Macau. The Company monitors the operations and evaluate earnings by reviewing the assets and operations of Studio City as one operating segment. Accordingly, we do not present separate segment information. As of December 31, 2022, 2021 and 2020, we operated in one geographical area, Macau, where we generated our revenue and where our long-lived assets were located.

Our operations in 2022 continued to be significantly impacted by travel restrictions and quarantine requirements as well as casino closures. According to the DSEC, visitor arrivals to Macau decreased by 26.0% on a year-over-year basis in 2022 as compared to 2021 while, according to the DICJ, gross gaming revenues in Macau declined by 51.4% on a year- over-year basis in 2022. As we derive all of our revenues from our business and operations in Macau, our business has been materially and adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While quarantine-free travel within Greater China has resumed and pandemic measures in Macau have eased significantly, the pace of recovery from COVID-19 is highly uncertain and will depend on the extent of any future COVID-19 outbreaks and government responses to such outbreaks, the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, including against any new strains of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the impact of potentially higher unemployment rates, declines in income levels and loss of personal wealth resulting from COVID-19 outbreaks. Moreover, even if COVID-19 outbreaks subside, there is no guarantee that travel and consumer sentiment will rebound quickly or at all. In addition, although restrictions related to COVID-19 have eased in mainland China and Macau, we cannot be certain whether authorities in these jurisdictions will reintroduce any of the previously imposed restrictions or any new restrictions in response to COVID-19 or other health emergencies.

The COVID-19 outbreak has also caused severe disruptions to the businesses of our tenants and other business partners, which may increase the risk of them defaulting on their contractual obligations with us, which may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations, including causing increases in our bad debts.

Given the uncertainty around the pace of recovery from COVID-19 and the extent of any future COVID-19 outbreaks and government responses to any such outbreaks, we cannot reasonably estimate the impact to our future results of operations, cash flows and financial condition. See “Item 3. Key Information. — D. Risk Factors — Risks Relating to Our Business — COVID-19 outbreaks have had an adverse effect on our operations, which has had a significant negative effect over the past three years and may continue to materially impact our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.”

Summary of Financial Results

For the year ended December 31, 2022, our total operating revenues were US$11.5 million, a decrease of 89.2% from US$106.9 million of total operating revenues for the year ended December 31, 2021. Net loss attributable to Studio City International Holdings Limited for the year ended December 31, 2022 was US$326.5 million, as compared to a net loss attributable to Studio City International Holdings Limited of US$252.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2021. The change was mainly attributable to the government

 

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mandated temporary casino closures in Macau in July and heightened travel restrictions in Macau and mainland China related to COVID-19 in 2022.

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2022      2021      2020  
     (in thousands of US$)  

Total operating revenues

   $ 11,548      $ 106,868      $ 49,208  

Total operating costs and expenses

     (288,764      (298,441      (329,136

Operating loss

     (277,216      (191,573      (279,928

Net loss attributable to Studio City International Holdings Limited

   $ (326,451    $ (252,555    $ (321,626

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

We use the following KPIs to evaluate the operations of Studio City Casino, including table games and gaming machines:

 

   

Rolling chip volume: the amount of non-negotiable chips wagered and lost by the rolling chip market segment.

 

   

Rolling chip win rate: rolling chip table games win (calculated before discounts, commissions, non-discretionary incentives (including the point-loyalty programs) as administered by the Gaming Operator and allocating casino revenues related to goods and services provided to gaming patrons on a complimentary basis) as a percentage of rolling chip volume.

 

   

Mass market table games drop: the amount of table games drop in the mass market table games segment.

 

   

Mass market table games hold percentage: mass market table games win (calculated before discounts, commissions, non-discretionary incentives (including the point-loyalty programs) as administered by the Gaming Operator and allocating casino revenues related to goods and services provided to gaming patrons on a complimentary basis) as a percentage of mass market table games drop.

 

   

Table games win: the amount of wagers won net of wagers lost on gaming tables that is retained and recorded as casino revenues. Table games win is calculated before discounts, commissions, non-discretionary incentives (including the point-loyalty programs) as administered by the Gaming Operator and allocating casino revenues related to goods and services provided to gaming patrons on a complimentary basis.

 

   

Gaming machine handle: the total amount wagered in gaming machines.

 

   

Gaming machine win rate: gaming machine win (calculated before non-discretionary incentives (including the point-loyalty programs) as administered by the Gaming Operator and allocating casino revenues related to goods and services provided to gaming patrons on a complimentary basis) expressed as a percentage of gaming machine handle.

In the rolling chip market segment, customers purchase identifiable chips known as non-negotiable chips, or rolling chips, from the casino cage, and there is no deposit into a gaming table’s drop box for rolling chips purchased from the cage. Rolling chip volume and mass market table games drop are not equivalent. Rolling chip volume is a measure of amounts wagered and lost. Mass market table games drop measures buy in. Rolling chip volume is generally substantially higher than mass market table games drop. As these volumes are the denominator used in calculating win rate or hold percentage, with the same use of gaming win as the numerator, the win rate is generally lower in the rolling chip market segment than the hold percentage in the mass market table games segment.

Studio City Casino’s expected rolling chip win rate is 2.85% to 3.15%.

 

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We use the following KPIs to evaluate our hotel operations:

 

   

Average daily rate: calculated by dividing total room revenues including complimentary rooms (less service charges, if any) by total rooms occupied, including complimentary rooms, i.e., average price of occupied rooms per day.

 

   

Occupancy rate: the average percentage of available hotel rooms occupied, including complimentary rooms, during a period.

 

   

Revenue per available room, or REVPAR: calculated by dividing total room revenues including complimentary rooms (less service charges, if any) by total rooms available, thereby representing a combination of hotel average daily room rates and occupancy.

Complimentary rooms are included in the calculation of the above room-related KPIs. The average daily rate of complimentary rooms is typically lower than the average daily rate for cash rooms. The occupancy rate and REVPAR would be lower if complimentary rooms were excluded from the calculation. As not all available rooms are occupied, average daily room rates are normally higher than revenue per available room.

Tables games and gaming machines that were not in operation due to government mandated closures or social distancing measures in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak have been excluded. Room statistics also exclude rooms that were temporarily closed or provided to staff members due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Year Ended December 31, 2022 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2021

Revenues

Certain revenues of the Company were previously captioned as revenue from provision of gaming related services and are now captioned as revenue from casino contract as a result of the amendments made to the agreement for the operation of the Studio City Casino announced on June 23, 2022. The change in the revenue caption does not impact the revenue recognition policy and figures are comparable to prior periods. Our total operating revenues were US$11.5 million in 2022, a decrease of US$95.3 million, or 89.2%, from US$106.9 million of total operating revenues in 2021. The change was primarily attributable to the government mandated temporary casino closures in Macau in July and heightened travel restrictions in Macau and mainland China related to COVID-19 in 2022 which led to a decrease in revenue from casino contract and lower non-gaming revenues.

 

   

Revenue from casino contract. Revenue from casino contract is derived from the provision of facilities for the operations of Studio City Casino by the Gaming Operator and services related thereto pursuant to the Studio City Casino Agreement. Revenue from casino contract were negative US$56.7 million in 2022, compared with revenue from casino contract of negative US$1.5 million in 2021. The change was primarily attributable to the government mandated temporary casino closures in Macau in July and heightened travel restrictions in Macau and mainland China related to COVID-19 in 2022.

Studio City Casino generated gross gaming revenues of US$171.2 million and US$380.8 million in 2022 and 2021, respectively, before the deduction by the Gaming Operator of gaming taxes and the costs incurred in connection with its on-going operation of Studio City Casino pursuant to the Studio City Casino Agreement.

Mass market table games revenue increased to US$131.3 million in 2022 from US$313.6 million in 2021, attributable to a decrease in mass market table games drop, partially offset by an increase in mass market table games hold percentage. Mass market table games drop decreased to US$0.46 billion in 2022 from US$1.13 billion in 2021. Mass market table games hold percentage increased to 28.5% in 2022 from 27.7% in 2021.

Gaming machine revenue decreased to US$18.6 million in 2022 from US$30.4 million in 2021. This decrease is attributable to a decrease of gaming machine handle to US$0.66 billion in 2022 from

 

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US$1.11 billion in 2021, partially offset by an increase in gaming machine win rate to 2.8% in 2022 from 2.7% in 2021. Average net win per gaming machine per day was US$75 and US$129 in 2022 and 2021, respectively.

VIP rolling chip revenue decreased to US$21.4 million in 2022 from US$36.8 million in 2021, attributable to a decrease in VIP rolling chip volume, partially offset by an increase in VIP rolling chip win rate. Studio City’s VIP rolling chip volume decreased to US$0.84 billion in 2022 from US$1.84 billion in 2021. VIP rolling chip win rate increased to 2.56% in 2022 from 2.00% in 2021.

Revenue from casino contract were negative US$56.7 million and negative US$1.5 million in 2022 and 2021, respectively. Revenue from casino contract is net of gaming taxes and the costs incurred in connection with the on-going operation of Studio City Casino deducted by the Gaming Operator.

In 2022 and 2021, total gaming taxes and costs incurred in connection with the on-going operation of Studio City Casino deducted from gross gaming revenues were US$227.9 million and US$382.3 million, respectively, which included (i) gaming taxes imposed on the gross gaming revenue of US$66.8 million and US$148.5 million, respectively; (ii) the complimentary services provided by us to Studio City Casino’s gaming patrons of US$22.9 million and US$44.1 million, respectively; (iii) shared administrative services and shuttle bus transportation services provided by us to Studio City Casino of US$17.9 million and US$20.9 million, respectively and (iv) remaining costs of US$120.3 million and US$168.8 million, respectively, primarily representing gaming-related staff costs and other gaming-related costs, including costs related to table games operations at Studio City Casino.

 

   

Rooms. We generate room revenues from Studio City hotel consisting of Celebrity Tower and all-suite Star Tower. Our room revenues decreased by US$20.8 million, or 53.8%, to US$17.9 million in 2022 from US$38.7 million in 2021. The decrease was primarily attributable to a decreased occupancy rate as a result of a year-over-year decrease in inbound tourism in 2022. Studio City’s average daily rate, occupancy rate and REVPAR were US$111, 28% and US$31, respectively, in 2022, as compared to US$123, 51% and US$62, respectively, in 2021.

 

   

Food and beverage, entertainment, mall and retail and other. Our revenues generated from food and beverage, entertainment, mall and retail and other decreased by US$16.3 million, or 36.4%, to US$28.4 million in 2022 from US$44.7 million in 2021, primarily attributable to a decrease in business activities as a result of a year-over-year decrease in inbound tourism in 2022.

 

   

Services fee. Our services fee revenues, which primarily consist of certain shared administrative services and shuttle bus transportation services to Studio City Casino, decreased by US$3.0 million, or 12.1%, to US$21.9 million in 2022 from US$24.9 million in 2021.

Operating Costs and Expenses

Our total operating costs and expenses decreased by US$9.7 million, or 3.2%, to US$288.8 million in 2022 from US$298.4 million in 2021.

 

   

Costs related to casino contract. Costs related to casino contract, which mainly represent (1) services fees for shared corporate services provided by the Master Service Providers pursuant to the Management and Shared Services Arrangements and (2) management payroll expenses, are relatively fixed in nature and amounted to US$29.9 million and US$28.1 million in 2022 and 2021, respectively.

 

   

Rooms. Room expenses, which represent the costs of operating the hotel facilities and respective payroll expenses, decreased by US$1.1 million, or 8.7%, to US$11.1 million in 2022 from US$12.2 million in 2021.

 

   

Food and beverage, entertainment, mall and retail and other. Expenses related to food and beverage, entertainment, mall and retail and other, which primarily represent the costs of operating the respective non-gaming services at Studio City and respective payroll expenses, decreased by US$4.0 million, or 11.1% to US$32.0 million in 2022 and US$36.0 million in 2021.

 

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General and administrative. General and administrative expenses were US$79.8 million and US$87.6 million in 2022 and 2021, respectively. Such expenses primarily consist of payroll expenses, utilities, marketing and advertising costs, repairs and maintenance, legal and professional fees, and fees paid to the Master Service Providers for shared corporate services provided to non-gaming departments. Expenses relating to services fee revenues are also included in the general and administrative expenses.

 

   

Pre-opening costs. Pre-opening costs were US$3.3 million in 2022 as compared to US$1.0 million in 2021. Such costs primarily represent personnel, marketing and other costs incurred prior to the opening of new or start-up operations. The higher pre-opening costs in 2022 were mainly related to Phase 2 of Studio City.

 

   

Amortization of land use right. Amortization expenses for the land use right continued to be recognized on a straight-line basis at an annual rate of US$3.3 million in both 2022 and 2021.

 

   

Depreciation and amortization. Depreciation and amortization expenses slightly decreased by US$0.7 million, or 0.5%, to US$123.7 million in 2022 from US$124.3 million in 2021.

 

   

Property charges and other. Property charges and other expenses of US$5.8 million in 2022 were primarily attributable to payroll costs as a result of departmental restructuring. Property charges and other expenses of US$6.0 million in 2021 were primarily attributable to termination costs as a result of departmental restructuring and impairment of assets as a result of the remodeling of a non-gaming attraction.

Operating Loss

As a result of the foregoing, we had an operating loss of US$277.2 million in 2022, compared to an operating loss of US$191.6 million in 2021.

Non-operating Expenses, Net

Net non-operating expenses consisted of interest income, interest expenses, net of amounts capitalized, other financing costs, net foreign exchange gains, loss on extinguishment of debt and other non-operating income, net. We incurred total net non-operating expenses of US$83.7 million in 2022, compared to US$110.9 million in 2021.

 

   

Interest expenses, net of amounts capitalized. Interest expenses were US$92.4 million (net of amounts capitalized of US$49.6 million) in 2022, compared to US$91.0 million (net of amounts capitalized of US$23.7 million) in 2021. The increase was primarily attributable to higher interest expenses primarily a result of the issuance of 2027 Notes on February 16, 2022, and the issuance of the Additional 2029 Notes on May 20, 2021, partially offset by higher amounts capitalized for the Phase 2 project for Studio City in 2022.

 

   

Other financing costs. Other financing costs, which were associated with the 2021/2028 Studio City Senior Secured Credit Facility, were US$0.4 million in both 2022 and 2021.

 

   

Loss on extinguishment of debt. Loss on extinguishment of debt was US$28.8 million in 2021 and was associated with the early redemption of the 2024 Notes, which were refinanced by the issuance of the First 2029 Notes. No loss on extinguishment of debt was incurred in 2022.

Loss before Income Tax

As a result of the foregoing, we had a loss before income tax of US$360.9 million in 2022, compared to a loss before income tax of US$302.5 million in 2021.

 

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Income Tax Expense/Benefit

Income tax expense was US$0.4 million in 2022 and was primarily attributable to deferred income tax expense as compared to income tax benefit of US$0.5 million in 2021 which was primarily attributable to deferred income tax benefit. The effective tax rates in 2022 and 2021 were (0.1%) and 0.2%, respectively. Our effective tax rates in 2022 and 2021 differed from the statutory Macau complementary tax rate of 12%, where the Company’s majority operations are located, primarily due to the effects of expenses for which no income tax benefit is receivable, expired tax losses, changes in valuation allowances, different tax rates of subsidiaries operating in other jurisdictions and income for which no income tax expense is payable for the relevant years together with the effect of tax losses that cannot be carried forward for the year ended December 31, 2021. Our management currently does not expect to realize significant income tax benefits associated with net operating loss carry-forwards and other deferred tax assets generated by our Macau operations. However, to the extent that the financial results of our Macau operations improve and it becomes more likely than not that the deferred tax assets are realizable, we will reduce the valuation allowance related to the net operating losses and other deferred tax assets.

Net Loss Attributable to Participation Interest

Our net loss attributable to participation interest was US$34.9 million in 2022, compared to a net loss attributable to participation interest of US$49.4 million in 2021.

Net Loss Attributable to Studio City International Holdings Limited

As a result of the foregoing, we had a net loss attributable to Studio City International Holdings Limited of US$326.5 million in 2022, compared to a net loss attributable to Studio City International Holdings Limited of US$252.6 million in 2021.

For a discussion of our results of operations for the year ended December 31, 2021 compared with the year ended December 31, 2020, see “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects — A. Operating Results — Year Ended December 31, 2021 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2020” of our annual report on Form 20-F for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021, filed with the SEC on March 31, 2022.

Adjusted EBITDA

Our net income/loss before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, pre-opening costs, share-based compensation, property charges and other, other non-operating income and expenses, or Adjusted EBITDA, was negative US$140.8 million, negative US$56.5 million and negative US$113.8 million for the years ended December 31, 2022, 2021 and 2020, respectively.

We believe that Adjusted EBITDA provides useful information to investors and others in understanding and evaluating our operating results. This non-GAAP financial measure eliminates the impact of items that we do not consider indicative of the performance of our business. While we believe that this non-GAAP financial measure is useful in evaluating our business, this information should be considered as supplemental in nature and is not meant as a substitute for the related financial information prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP. It should not be considered in isolation or construed as an alternative to net income/loss, cash flow or any other measure of financial performance or as an indicator of our operating performance, liquidity, profitability or cash flows generated by operating, investing or financing activities. This non-GAAP financial measure, which may differ from similarly titled measures used by other companies should not be considered a substitute for, or superior to, the financial information prepared and presented in accordance with U.S. GAAP.

The use of Adjusted EBITDA has material limitations as an analytical tool, as Adjusted EBITDA does not include all items that impact our net income/loss. Investors are encouraged to review the reconciliation of the historical non-GAAP financial measure to its most directly comparable GAAP financial measure.

 

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Reconciliation of Net Loss Attributable to Studio City International Holdings Limited to Adjusted EBITDA

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2022     2021      2020 (2)  
     (in thousands of US$)  

Net loss attributable to Studio City International Holdings Limited

   $ (326,451   $ (252,555   $ (321,626

Net loss attributable to participation interest

     (34,856     (49,447     (83,466
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net loss

     (361,307     (302,002     (405,092

Income tax expense (credit)

     382       (457     (1,011

Interest and other non-operating expenses, net

     83,709       110,886       126,175  

Property charges and other

     5,799       6,031       4,798  

Depreciation and amortization

     126,956       127,634       160,334  

Share-based compensation

     361       438       791  

Pre-opening costs

     3,263       984       201  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Adjusted EBITDA

   $ (140,837   $ (56,486   $ (113,804
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Adjusted EBITDA margin (1)

     (1,219.6 )%      (52.9 )%      (231.3 )% 

 

(1)

Adjusted EBITDA margin is calculated by dividing Adjusted EBITDA by total operating revenues.

 

(2)

We adopted Accounting Standards Codification 326, Financial Instruments – Credit Losses (Topic 326) (“ASU 2016-13”) on January 1, 2020 under the modified retrospective method. There was no material impact on our results of operations and Adjusted EBITDA in 2020 as a result of the adoption of ASU 2016-13.

The negative Adjusted EBITDA for Studio City in 2022, 2021 and 2020 referred to in Melco Resorts’ 2022 annual report on Form 20-F were US$35.7 million, US$36.0 million and US$34.8 million less, respectively, than the negative Adjusted EBITDA of Studio City contained in this report. The Adjusted EBITDA of Studio City contained in this report includes certain intercompany charges that are not included in the Adjusted EBITDA for Studio City contained in such Melco Resorts’ annual report. Such intercompany charges include, among other items, fees and shared service charges billed between the Company and its subsidiaries and certain subsidiaries of Melco Resorts. Additionally, Adjusted EBITDA of Studio City included in such Melco Resorts’ annual report does not reflect certain intercompany costs related to the table games operations at Studio City Casino.

B. LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES

We have relied on, and intend to continue to rely on, our cash generated from our operations and our debt and equity financings to meet our financing or refinancing needs.

As of December 31, 2022, we recorded US$509.5 million in cash and cash equivalents. Further, the HK$233.0 million (equivalent to approximately US$29.8 million) revolving credit facility under the 2028 Studio City Senior Secured Credit Facility is available for future drawdown as of December 31, 2022, subject to certain conditions precedent.

As of December 31, 2022, restricted cash of US$0.1 million primarily represented the cash collateral in relation to the 2028 Studio City Senior Secured Credit Facility.

We have been able to meet our working capital needs, and we believe that our current available cash and cash equivalents, bank deposits, funds available for drawdown under the 2028 Studio City Senior Secured

 

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Credit Facility and any additional equity or debt financings will be adequate to satisfy our current and anticipated operating, debt and capital commitments, including our development project plans, as described in “— Other Financing and Liquidity Matters” below. For any additional financing requirements, we cannot provide assurance that future borrowings will be available. See “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Relating to Our Business — We may not be able to obtain adequate financing on satisfactory terms for our existing business, or at all” for more information.

We have significant indebtedness and will continue to evaluate our capital structure and opportunities to enhance it in the normal course of our activities. We may from time to time seek to retire or purchase our outstanding debt through cash purchases, in open market purchases, privately-negotiated transactions or otherwise. Such purchases, if any, will depend on prevailing market conditions, our liquidity requirements, contractual restrictions and other factors. The amounts involved may be material.

Cash Flows

The following table sets forth a summary of our cash flows for the years presented.

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2022      2021      2020  
     (in thousands of US$)  

Net cash used in operating activities

   $ (178,775    $ (136,841    $ (167,425

Net cash used in investing activities

     (453,395      (407,235      (209,789

Net cash provided by financing activities

     643,109        471,508        623,811  

Effect of exchange rate on cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash

     (705      (3,372      1,530  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Increase (decrease) in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash

     10,234        (75,940      248,127  

Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash at beginning of year

     499,419        575,359        327,232  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash at end of year

   $ 509,653      $ 499,419      $ 575,359  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Operating Activities

Operating cash flows are generally affected by changes in operating income and certain operating assets and liabilities, including the receivables related to the revenue from casino contract and hotel operations, as well as the non-gaming business, including food and beverage, entertainment, mall, retail and other, which are conducted primarily on a cash basis.

We recorded net cash used in operating activities of US$178.8 million in 2022, as compared to net cash used in operating activities of US$136.8 million in 2021. The change was primarily attributable to softer performance of Studio City’s operations as described in the foregoing sections, partially offset by the decreased working capital needed for operations.

We recorded net cash used in operating activities of US$136.8 million in 2021, as compared to net cash used in operating activities of US$167.4 million in 2020. The change was primarily attributable to the improved performance of Studio City’s operations, partially offset by the increased working capital needed for operations.

Investing Activities

Net cash used in investing activities was US$453.4 million in 2022, as compared to net cash used in investing activities of US$407.2 million in 2021. Net cash used in investing activities was US$209.8 million in 2020.

 

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Net cash used in investing activities of US$453.4 million in 2022 was primarily attributable to payments for acquisition of property and equipment of US$452.1 million.

Net cash used in investing activities of US$407.2 million in 2021 was primarily attributable to payments for acquisition of property and equipment of US$400.4 million, funds to an affiliated company of US$4.4 million and payments for acquisition of intangible assets of US$4.1 million, partially offset by proceeds from sale of property and equipment and other long-term assets of US$1.7 million.

Net cash used in investing activities of US$209.8 million in 2020 was primarily attributable to payments for acquisition of property and equipment of US$202.7 million and funds to an affiliated company of US$9.6 million.

Our capital expenditures on an accrual basis amounted to US$427.7 million, US$503.7 million and US$214.0 million for the years ended December 31, 2022, 2021 and 2020, respectively, primarily for the construction, development and enhancement of Studio City. We will continue to make capital expenditures to grow our business and expect that cash generated from our operating and financing activities will meet our capital expenditure needs in the foreseeable future. We expect to incur capital expenditures as we continue to expand our existing operations and open our Phase 2 project. See “— Other Financing and Liquidity Matters” below for more information.

Financing Activities

Net cash provided by financing activities was US$643.1 million in 2022, as compared to net cash provided by financing activities of US$471.5 million in 2021. Net cash provided by financing activities of US$623.8 million in 2020.

Net cash provided by financing activities of US$643.1 million in 2022 was attributable to the proceeds from the issuance of the 2027 Notes in the aggregate principal amount of US$350.0 million and net proceeds from issuance of shares of US$299.2 million, partially offset by payments of deferred financing costs of US$6.1 million.

Net cash provided by financing activities of US$471.5 million in 2021 was primarily attributable to the proceeds from the issuance of the First 2029 Notes in aggregate principal amount of US$750.0 million and the issuance of the Additional 2029 Notes of US$355.3 million, partially offset by the payment of the 2024 Notes Tender Offer of US$347.1 million in aggregate principal amount and the redemption of the remaining 2024 Notes of US$252.9 million in aggregate principal amount outstanding, as well as payments of deferred financing costs of US$33.3 million.

Net cash provided by financing activities of US$623.8 million in 2020 was attributable to net proceeds from issuance of shares of US$499.2 million, proceeds from the issuance of the 2025 Notes in aggregate principal amount of US$500.0 million and the 2028 Notes in aggregate principal amount of US$500.0 million, partially offset by the full redemption of the 2021 Studio City Company Notes in aggregate principal amount of US$850.0 million and the payment of deferred financing costs from the refinancing of the 2021 Studio City Company Notes with the 2025 Notes and 2028 Notes.

 

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Indebtedness

We enter into loan facilities and issue notes through our subsidiaries. The following table sets forth our gross indebtedness as of December 31, 2022:

 

     Issuer      As of December 31,
2022
 
            (in thousands of US$)  

2028 Studio City Senior Secured Credit Facility

     Studio City Company      $ 128  

2025 Notes

     Studio City Finance        500,000  

2027 Notes

     Studio City Company        350,000  

2028 Notes

     Studio City Finance        500,000  

2029 Notes

     Studio City Finance        1,100,000  
     

 

 

 

Total

      $ 2,450,128  
     

 

 

 

Major changes in our indebtedness during the year ended and subsequent to December 31, 2022 are summarized below.

On February 16, 2022, Studio City Company issued US$350.0 million in aggregate principal amount of the 2027 Notes.

For further details of the above indebtedness, see note 10 to the consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this annual report, which includes information regarding the type of debt facilities used, the maturity profile of debt, the currency and interest rate structure, the charge on our assets and the nature and extent of any restrictions on our ability, and the ability of our subsidiaries, to transfer funds as cash dividends, loans or advances. See also “— Other Financing and Liquidity Matters” below for details of the maturity profile of debt and “Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk” for further understanding of our hedging of foreign exchange risk exposure.

Other Financing and Liquidity Matters

We may obtain financing in the form of, among other things, equity or debt, including additional bank loans or high yield, mezzanine or other debt, or rely on our operating cash flow to fund the development of our projects. We are a growing company with significant financial needs. We expect to incur capital expenditures in the future as we continue to expand our existing operations and open our Phase 2 project.

We have relied, and intend in the future to rely, on our operating cash flow and different forms of financing to meet our funding needs and repay our indebtedness, as the case may be.

The timing of any future debt and equity financing activities will be dependent on our funding needs, our construction schedule, the availability of funds on terms acceptable to us and prevailing market conditions. We may carry out activities from time to time to strengthen our financial position and ability to better fund our business expansion plans. Such activities may include refinancing existing debt, monetizing assets, sale-and-leaseback transactions or other similar activities.

In October 2018, we completed our initial public offering of 28,750,000 ADSs (equivalent to 115,000,000 Class A ordinary shares). In November 2018, the underwriters exercised their over-allotment option in full to purchase an additional 4,312,500 ADSs from us. After giving effect to the exercise of the over-allotment option, the total number of ADSs sold in our initial public offering was 33,062,500 ADSs and we received net proceeds of approximately US$406.7 million from the ADSs sold in our initial public offering and aggregate gross proceeds of approximately US$2.5 million from the concurrent private placement to Melco International in connection with Melco International’s “assured entitlement” distribution to its shareholders, after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and a structuring fee, but before deducting offering expenses payable by us.

 

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In August 2020, Studio City International Holdings Limited completed a US$500 million private placement of shares, or the 2020 Private Placements. The net proceeds from this private placement was approximately US$499.2 million.

In March 2022, Studio City International Holdings Limited completed a US$300 million private placement of shares, or the 2022 Private Placements. The net proceeds from this private placement was approximately US$299.2 million.

Any other future developments may be subject to further financing and a number of other factors, many of which are beyond our control.

Our material cash requirements arise from the payment of interest expenses and repayment of principal relating to our indebtedness and, prior to the completion of construction, the development of the remaining land at Studio City.

Cash from financings and operations is primarily retained by our operating subsidiaries for the purposes of funding our operating activities and capital expenditures. Cash within our group is primarily transferred between our subsidiaries through intercompany loan arrangements. Financing raised by Studio City International Holdings Limited has been transferred to our financing and operating subsidiaries through the use of equity capital contributions or intercompany loan arrangements. In 2022, excluding cash transferred for the purpose of the settlement of intragroup charges, no cash has been transferred to our holding company, Studio City International Holdings Limited, from its subsidiaries. See also “Item 4. Information on the Company — B. Business Overview — Taxation” and “Item 8. Financial Information — A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information — Dividend Policy.” There are no regulatory or foreign exchange restrictions or limitations on our ability to transfer cash within our corporate group or to declare dividends to holders of our ADSs, except that our subsidiaries incorporated in Macau are required to set aside a specified amount of the entity’s profit after tax as a legal reserve which is not distributable to the shareholders of such subsidiaries. See “Item 4. Information on the Company — B. Business Overview — Regulations — Restrictions on Distribution of Profits Regulations” and “Item 10. Additional Information — D. Exchange Controls.”

As of December 31, 2022, we had capital commitments contracted for but not incurred for the construction and acquisition of property and equipment mainly for the development of remaining land at Studio City totaling US$23.4 million. In addition, we have contingent liabilities arising in the ordinary course of business.

 

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Our total long-term indebtedness and other contractual obligations as of December 31, 2022 are summarized below.

 

     Payments Due by Period  
     Less than
1 year
     1-3 years      3-5 years      More than
5 years
     Total  
     (in millions of US$)  

Long-term debt obligations(1):

  

2028 Studio City Senior Secured Credit Facility

   $ —        $ —        $ —        $ 0.1      $ 0.1

2025 Notes

     —          500.0        —          —          500.0

2027 Notes

     —          —          350.0        —          350.0

2028 Notes

     —          —          —          500.0      500.0

2029 Notes

     —          —          —          1,100.0        1,100.0  

Fixed interest payments

     142.0        270.1      202.6      58.3      673.0

Operating leases(2)

     1.1        2.3      2.3      31.3      37.0

Construction costs and property and equipment retention payables

     20.4      19.4      —          —          39.8

Other contractual commitments:

              

Construction costs and property and equipment acquisition commitments

     22.9        0.5      —          —          23.4