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Macau Readies for New Gaming Regulations ahead of Casino License Auction

Macau’s gambling landscape is set to witness heated development with a proposed amendment to the regulations currently overseeing the field as casino licenses renewal looms over operators. With the help of this proposed change in the status quo, gaming permits renewal is expected to take place in a smoother manner, potentially opening the door for more players. Meanwhile, Japan’s recent gambling legalization is also expected to have an impact on the gaming field in the future.

According to a statement by Lionel Leong Vai Tac, the City’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, the Government has to seek ways in which it could facilitate the entire bidding process scheduled to take place in the not-so-distant future. The currently existing regulation should undergo some changes which aim to make re-granting of gaming permits a more hassle-free process. Steps in the right direction have already been made, as a proposal for the potential amendment has been received by the Government.

Even though it is still in its draft state, this is an already considerable shift from the previous consideration period. As it has been previously reported, the second half of 2018 is expected to bring more information regarding the potential plan for action when it comes to the renewal of casino licenses. According to Mr. Leong, the government of Macau is planning on analyzing numerous different solutions to the looming problem in order to come up with the best plan for action.

At this point, it is not a secret to anyone interested in the development of the local field that casino licenses which allow gaming developers and operators to oversee their business in Macao are approaching their final months. The years 2020 and 2022 are going to bring many changes to the field of the international gambling capital, as across this time period all of the currently existing gambling locations will have to have their gaming licenses renewed. This is a pivotal moment in the development of the gaming hub as it could make or break the development of certain brands in the area.

Expansion of Gaming Field Could Bring Seventh Player

In case some of them are not able to make it back in the field securing their new casino permit for operation, this could result in a problematic situation. Every developer is striving to avoid this negative possibility, since capitalizing on the largest gaming hub provides many of them with a large share of their gross gaming revenue. The six players on the field at the moment are SJM Holdings Ltd., Galaxy Entertainment, Sands China Ltd., Wynn Macau Ltd., Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd, and MGM China Holdings Ltd.

However, there are more casino developers eyeing potential acquiring a license and making their way into the booming gaming field in the future. Upcoming casino permits auction could provide them with the chance to explore the area. Paradise Entertainment is such a developer, currently overseeing the management of a couple of satellite casinos in Macau. The first one is Casino Kam Pek Paradise, operating licensed by SJM, whereas the second one is Waldo Casino Hotel with a licensing by Galaxy Entertainment.

According to Union Gaming analyst Grant Govertsen, there is a possibility that SJM and MGM’s licenses will be extended for two more years, as to bring them to parity with the other four licensees. They would be the first two casino developers to have their licenses expiring in 2020. In the meantime, attempting to branch out Paradise could potentially work on its bid if the authorities introduce amendments to the currently existing law and allow more casino developers to enter the field.

There have been conversations going on for quite some time now and a possible seventh casino license has been mentioned in the past. This could result in a more competitive environment and therefore, a much more diverse situation in the gaming field. Lawrence Ho, Melco Resorts’ Chief Executive Officer has always supported the idea that six gaming permits are sufficient in order to keep the field well-saturated. More issues might be on the way, however, as Japan recently greenlighted its gambling field with the help of the Integrated Resort Implementation Bill.

Future operation in the region might result in Chinese players making their way to the north and exploring the new possibilities in either Tokyo or Osaka, which have been proposed as potential sites for integrated resort construction. Casino developers might also prefer Japan as an arena for development, if Macau chooses to maintain the number of casino licenses available in its current state. Whatever the case might be, upcoming months are set to bring more development in relation to Macau’s gaming field.

 Author: Harrison Young

Harrison Young is an experienced writer, who started his career almost 8 years ago. Prior to joining our team at CasinoGamesPro, he worked as an editor for a small magazine.