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China – Macau’s six casino operators given six month extension

By - 4 March 2022

Lei Wai Nong, Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, has confirmed that Macau’s six casino licence holders will see their concessions extended to December 31 2022, to allow more meetings to take place.

Speaking to the media, Mr. Lei said: “We have notified the gaming operators to prepare for the extension application. We still have time, and we will have a couple more meetings with the Second Standing Committee.”

Analysts believe that the government is happy with the six licence holders and that will each will be given a new 10-year concession. The licecnes were due to run out on June 26.

Chan Chak Mo, President of the Second Standing Committee, explained: ““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. 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.”

Wynn Macau’s chairman Allan Zeman said to the South China Morning Post: “It’s a positive for the industry in general because at least all the operators can really plan properly. It’s better to have certainty than uncertainty.”

“The timeline for passing the gaming law and completing the retendering process by June was too ambitious,” Daiwa Capital Markets’ analyst Terry Ng commented. “On the flip side, it gives the Macau government more time to ensure the amendments to the gaming law are better thought-out and more comprehensive to ensure the healthy development of the sector over the long-term.”

JPMorgan analyst DS Kim added: “As the public tender process can only happen after the gaming law is approved, and the issuance of the next concessions will take at least a couple of months, it’s unsurprising to see the government pushing out the expiry of the current term to avoid any potential issues.”

Melco Resorts Chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho spoke on an earnings call about his company’s view on its Studio City casino.

“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,” he explained. “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.”

There was also some movement concerning the position of the 22 satellite casinos in Macau.

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