The Macau government seems like it is pushing to finish the re-tendering process of gaming concessions before current licenses expire next year. Lei Wai Nong, the Secretary for Economy and Finance, stated that details will soon be announced.
Casino Tenders a Sensitive Subject
According to Inside Asian Gaming, Lei spoke to the media after this past Monday’s Second Plenary Meeting of the Standing Committee for the Coordination of Social Affairs 2021. He stated that the government was currently working on a final report on the recent public consultation on proposed changes to Macau’s gaming laws.
Lei added that details of the public tender to receive new gaming concessions will be made available at the same time. Those details are well overdue and operators are cautious about what might be coming.
The official stated that the current gaming laws, now 20 years old, didn’t cover certain issues. He added, “We are preparing the consultation report and the bill will advance according to the projected timeline. Then we will advance with other works.”
Questions Still Remain
Lei explained that the government is currently preparing the necessary consultation reports and the legislation will move according to the planned timeline. After that, the government can start putting the final pieces of the casino puzzle together.
In spite of the fact that Suncity Group former CEO Alvin Chau is facing judicial proceedings, Lei resisted commenting on the suspension of the junket operator’s VIP service last week. He insisted that the industry must have “confidence” in the future and claimed it was inevitable that Macau’s economy will go through ups as well as downs.
The government is expected to publish its public consultation report no later than March, three months prior to the expiry of Macau’s six existing casino concessions on June 26. However, in light of more pressure from mainland China on the SAR and a need to diversify Macau’s interests, how the new casino industry in the city will look still cannot be ascertained.
There is obviously some doubt, even if it’s only a little, on the part of some gaming operators about the future. SJM Holdings CEO Ambrose So Shu Fai told a local media outlet yesterday that he is “optimistic” the company will retain its license. If the six operators were in a position of guaranteed renewals, there would be no question about SJM’s continued presence in the city.