The Macau government announced on Friday, 14th January that the number of new casino operators in the region will be limited to six concessionaires with an operating period of 10 years. This announcement has been highly anticipated by casino executives, investors, and analysts. It also announced that all existing or potential operators will need to apply through the new tender process.
As Macau is the world’s biggest gambling hub in terms of money wagered, the new announcement also puts an end to concerns regarding the current state of operators in the Chinese-controlled region. In recent years, there has been intense scrutiny of the casinos with many illegal capital flows from mainland China being clamped down by authorities. Underground lending and unlawful cash transfers have also been targeted.
The licenses of six operators – Sands China, MGM China, Wynn Macau, SJM Holdings, Melco Resorts, and Galaxy Entertainments are all due to expire in June 2022. With all operators required to apply through the new tender process, it is still not clear whether these operators will have to make a fresh bid or the current license term will be extended. According to the new rule, the concession length of 10 years can be extended to three under certain circumstances.
Government representatives Cheong Weng Chon, Secretary of Administration and Justice, Ku Mei Leng, Chief of Staff for the Office of the Secretary for Economy and Finance and Ian I Lin, Advisor to the Office of the Secretary for Economy and Finance, said the current licenses would be extended for only for a short time period if re-tendering cannot be completed in time.
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Casino operators are also required to increase the capital amount to 5 billion patacas ($623.67 million) from 200 million patacas ($24.96 million). The requirement of the holdings of a Macau-based director of the company is to be increased from 10% to 15%. The government did not go ahead with the proposal to appoint a government representative to the board of directors of each operator.
Discussion regarding the amendments to Macau’s gaming law by the executive council has now been concluded. The new framework will be sent to the Legislative Assembly for consideration today, i.e., 14th January 2022.
Donna Amo is a writer at Gutshot Magazine. She is a graduate from Sophia College of Women, Mumbai with a degree in English Literature. When this October born foodie is not writing content or poetry, she spends her time laughing at memes or watching series. Based out of Mizoram, she is drawn to all things nature and has a soft spot for puppies.
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