Last week, seven companies submitted their tenders for Macau’s six gaming concessions. On Friday, opened the bids and, as per an announcement, decided to accept all of the seven bids, although one has been "conditionally" confirmed.
The list of firms vying for the 10-year licenses includes the city’s six current operators –Wynn Macau, Sands China, MGM China, SJM Holdings, Galaxy Entertainment and Melco Resorts– and a seventh company, GMM Limited, part of the Genting Group.
Malaysia-based GMM Limited's bid was "conditionally" accepted. However, the committee did not mention what GMM will need to do in order for its bid to be finally accepted.
The Gaming Concession Public Tender Committee, which was set up by the government in July to oversee the gaming concession tender, includes three of Macao’s five policy secretaries: Secretary for Administration and Justice André Cheong Weng Chon, Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong, and Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Elsie Ao Ieong U. The committee is headed by Cheong.
André Cheong Weng Chon
The committee will assess the submitted bids in compliance with the respective laws and regulations as well as the requirements listed in the government’s regulation governing its assessments of bids for future gaming concessions. The assessments will also include discussions and consultations with the accepted bidders.
Speaking on Friday morning, Cheong said that the government did not have a timetable as to when it would complete assessing the accepted bids, but he underlined that the government will complete its process to grant the new gaming concessions by the end of this year, as reported by Macao News.
Currently, Macao’s gaming industry comprises three concessions (SJM Resorts Limited, Galaxy Casino Company Limited, and Wynn Resorts (Macau)) and three sub-concessions (MGM Grand Paradise Limited, Venetian Macau Limited, and Melco Resorts (Macau) Limited). The three concessionaires sold one sub-concession each.
Gaming Concession Public Tender Committee
However, the gaming hub’s new gaming industry law, which was promulgated earlier this year, expressly bans the granting of sub-concessions. Macao’s current three gaming concessions and three sub-concessions will expire on 31 December.
The new gaming law stipulates that the government can grant up to six gaming concessions by public and open tender for 10 years, with a possible extension of up to three years in exceptional circumstances.
The special administrative region of China –the only place in the country where gambling is legal– earns much of its annual revenue from casino operations. However, in addition to running their properties, operators are now being asked by Macau authorities to attract overseas visitors, develop investments not related to gaming, and demonstrate corporate social responsibility.
This push for more non-gaming activities was also addressed by the gambling companies in their statements following the submission of their tenders. "Our proposal reinforces our commitment to Macau and the further diversification of its economy. We look forward to playing a leadership role in partnering with the Macau government to execute the government’s vision," commented last week Lawrence Ho, Chairman, and CEO of Melco.