Following the announcement that the Government of the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) had approved the extension of the licenses of the six existing gaming operators in the city until December 31, the executive council published Tuesday draft rules for the retendering of casino licenses ahead of their year-end expirations.
The rules included details on the bidding for the gaming concessions, qualifications of the companies bidding, and the criteria for granting them. The government will pay close attention to operators’ plans to develop foreign tourist markets, the benefits brought by gaming and non-gaming projects to Macau, and social responsibilities, reports Reuters.
Other criteria for the tender process listed in the rules include experience in operating games of chance in casinos or related areas; the interest in the region from investments in gaming and non-gaming related projects; the venue management plan; and the proposed supervision and prevention of illicit activities at the properties.
The general criteria for the public tender were revealed in the city’s Official Gazette. The document is Administrative Regulation No. 28/2022, and it suggests that at least eight bidders should participate in the tender. The regulation calls for at least two more bidders than the number of concessions put out to tender, and if such amount is not met, the government may invite other companies to bid.
Macau's Legislative Assembly
The rules come after the government passed Macau’s amended gaming law last month, which marked the biggest legal reforms for the industry in two decades. The new bill will replace legislation in force since 2001, and increases the oversight of SAR authorities in the gaming sector of the city.
Under the new legislation, the number of new licenses is limited to six, and the new permits will be given out for up to 10 years, down from the current 20 years. Macau officials are given the power to punish casino operators for a number of reasons, including under-performing revenue and threatening national security.
Furthermore, gaming taxes have been raised marginally from 39% to 40%, including 35% in direct gaming taxes and a flat 5% tax for social welfare and urban development, representing a whole 1% more than before. The 5% tax in indirect taxes could however be reduced if operators manage to attract more overseas players to their casinos, as reported by Macau Business.
Licenses for Macau’s casino operators - Wynn Macau, Sands China, MGM China, Galaxy Entertainment, SJM Holdings, and Melco Resorts - will expire on December 31. Macau is the only place in China where gambling in casinos is legal.