The Second Standing Committee of Macau’s Legislative Assembly (AL) had its first meeting with government representatives, including Lei Wai Nong, the Secretary for Economy and Finance. The meeting was held to continue further discussions on the amendment of the gaming law in Macau.
One of the key points of discussion was on ‘satellite casinos’ in the region. President of the Second Standing Committee, Chan Chak Mo told reporters that the SAR (special administrative region) government assured that it would be able to finish the definition and classification of ‘satellite casinos.’
Chan said, “The government stated that they had investigated and inspected the scale of all properties of the six current gaming operators during July to November last year.” He then added, “The government believed that they could complete the classification of which satellite casinos would be the properties of the government in accordance with architectural drawings by the end of this year.”
In the draft of the proposed gaming law, it has been suggested that all satellite casinos should be housed within the properties of gaming operators. However, Chan also added that there can be a scope for these gaming operators to purchase a minority stake in a satellite casino through a strata arrangement. He suggested that this arrangement can be done via a purchase of the gaming space only within the buildings that currently house satellite casinos. He explained that if the gaming space occupies one-tenth of a building’s total floor space, for example, then the “gaming concessionaires would only need to acquire that gaming space.”
According to Chan, there are 22 satellite casinos on Macau, however, this is up for debate as it has been generally understood that there are only 18 true satellite casinos in the region. Currently, 14 of these are licenses under SJM Resorts, three are under the Galaxy Entertainment Group, and one is under the Melco Resorts & Entertainment. Studio City is reported to be among the additional properties that Chan seems to be referring to. Melco holds an indirect majority stake in Studio City.
When asked about the property, Lawrence Ho, Melco Resorts Chairman and CEO said, “We’ve never looked at Studio City as a satellite casino considering Melco Resorts holds the majority of the ownership of Studio City, and we believe that the gaming law revision also doesn’t see Studio City as a satellite casino.”
Ho further added, “Of course, the gaming law has so far been an expedited, fair, and reasonable process, but we are still seeking a lot of clarification from the government before the law gets approved in the AL sometime in June, so we’ll be working with the government on that front.”
It should be noted that whichever classification of ‘satellite casinos’ that the AL settles on, a three-year grace period for satellite casino operators will be provided by the government so that they can find a resolution. It was confirmed by Choi that this grace period would start from the date when the new gaming concessions begins.
Donna Amo was 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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