Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Macau Government Reviewing All Aspects of Gaming Industry Ahead of Licensing Renewal Period

The Macau government will soon need to decide the future of the enclave’s gaming industry, and to help assist in that critical decision-making process, administration officials have commissioned a study to examine all facets of the market to reach a recommendation on just how big of a role casinos should play in the local economy.

Talking with reporters after an Economic Development Committee meeting, lawmaker Davis Fong Ka Chio told GGRAsia that the University of Macau has been selected to conduct the gaming investigation. Davis oversees the school’s Study of Commercial Gaming Institute, and was appointed to the Macau Legislative Assembly in September by Chief Executive Fernando Chui.

Fong explained that the university study will review how gaming can best serve Macau. That includes providing recommendations to the Macau government on whether all six current licensees should be renewed in the coming four years, and if additional permits should be issued.
Macau Makeover

MGM China and SJM Holdings will see their gaming licenses expire in 2020. SJM is billionaire Stanley Ho’s casino empire, which held a monopoly on Macau gambling for four decades until the enclave welcomed commercial operators in 2001.

The Chinese operating arms of Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts will see their licenses expire in 2022, along with Hong Kong-based Melco Resorts and Galaxy Entertainment.

All six operators are expected to see their permits renewed, but much is unknown surrounding the market’s next regulatory structure. Junket businesses that collude with the operators to bring high rollers from the mainland to the enclave are under the heaviest scrutiny, as junkets are what attracted scrutiny from the Chinese government and led to gross gaming plummeting from $45 billion in 2013, to $27.9 billion last year.


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