Macau gaming concessions are set to be extended to December 31, 2022, Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong has announced. Thus, all of Macau’s current six concessionaires -SJM Resorts, Wynn Macau, Galaxy Entertainment, Sands Macau, MGM Macau and Melco Resorts- will have their gaming permits in place for an additional six month period.
The announcement was made on Thursday after a Legislative Assembly meeting of the standing committee in which amendments to the future gaming law were being debated, reports Macao News. According to Lei, should the AL approve the draft law by June, the government would be able to start work required for the concession retendering process in H2 this year.
However, Lei did not elaborate on a specific date for the government to launch the public tender. The Secretary for Economy and Finance said authorities were confident they could complete the gaming law amendment process before June 26, the former expiration date of the current concessions, and launch the tendering process after that.
Lei further stated government officials have already notified gaming operators “to prepare for the extension application.” The Secretary did not respond whether the government would be willing to extend concessions again in December should either the legislative or the tendering processes be delayed.
An extension to gaming licenses was already proposed amid the debate of the new gaming law. Chan Chak Mo, president of the standing committee, had suggested the government could extend the permits for another year.
The draft bill sets a maximum of six gaming concessions -the same number of operators already in the market- that last for up to ten years each. A 3-year extension may be granted should officials find it suitable “under exceptional circumstances.” It is expected the six current concessionaires might retain their permits, winning a new 10-year concession.
Additionally, the amendments would not see a rise in GGR tax rate from a current 35%. However, concessionaires would be subject to a Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) review every three years to determine general contractual compliance.
Macau Legislative Assembly
An article in the draft bill also seeks to increase the minimum capital each concessionaire must hold from MOP $200 million ($25 million) to MOP $5 billion ($625 million). Operators are “obliged” to present respective support documents for the capital.
The Legislative Assembly approved a draft of the new gaming bill in January, and last month the president of the body expressed confidence that the deliberation could be completed as scheduled “before June.”
On Thursday, Lei, who participated in the second standing committee discussions for the first time, said the body still has time, and that there would be “a couple more meetings” with the committee going forward. He also confirmed to local media he would be present at a meeting on March 4.