Macau faces a period of changes in the foreseeable future as all six of its casino developers will have to renew their casino licensing in 2020 and 2022, inevitably causing uncertainty within the field. Following expressed interest by foreign casino developers hoping hey could find a way to enter the field, Former SJM Holdings Executive Director, Rui Cunha, stated that the introduction of new casino operators would negatively impact the field.
This Thursday brought an official statement expressing the lawyer’s position when it comes to new casino operators making their way into Macau’s gaming field. He spoke at the 11th International Conference on the Legal Reforms of Macau in the Global Context providing speakers from around the globe with the opportunity to give their expert opinion and guidance.
From Mr. Cunha’s perspective, there is simply no “space” available at the moment, as there are six operators with their sub-concession holders dominating the sector. They have shaped it throughout the years and their fingerprints are all over the booming gaming hub.
New Casino Developers Could Complicate Matters
There are currently international casino operators willing to make their way into Macau, as it is a tempting bite and setting foot on the market would most certainly bring them a considerable revenue surge. However, estimations provided by Mr. Cunha stated that the six concessions are enough to cover the sector in its entirety and provide all-encompassing offerings to patrons from near and far.
For the last 20 years, the status quo in Macau has seen only six concessions, which leads the former leading figure of SJM Holding to think that new developers entering could increase the rate of illegal activities across the Chinese Special Administrative Region. Projected outcome of this could range from individuals offering loans illegally, to attempts to get even and clear the ground by kidnappings and criminal activity.
This personal opinion expressed by Mr. Cunha comes as a result of an extensive experience in the field and years and years of up close and personal observation. Macau’s plan for action involves the redevelopment of its basic gambling laws as to ensure that casino operators are sticking to the commitments they have.
In order to fortify its problem gambling policy and make sure everything in the sphere goes according to plan, the authorities are planning to regulate junket operations, promote responsible gaming and boost the Macau casino industry’s competitiveness.
Projections for the Gaming Field
Amid years witnessing constantly evolving gaming field, Macau should strive to protect its players while at the same time maintaining its appeal to them. Any restrictive measures striving to eliminate money laundering or other criminal activities should not be done at the expense of casino patrons and customers of the more family-friendly offerings.
Back in 2014, China went through an anti-corruption crackdown which affected gaming revenue in a negative way. Mr. Cunha also provided reassurance to casino developers in the region, that he does not deem it possible that any of them will fail to renew their gaming license. This is not a possible scenario for him, as they have already proven their proficiency and only minor changes will have to be introduced to the concessions which would reflect the current environment in Macau and its demands.
March 2020 will see the concession expiration of SJM Holdings Ltd. and MGM China, delivering the first portion of operators which will have to reclaim their place in the industry after license expiration. 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 remaining four licenses.
There is also the possibility that the government gives those two developers a one-year extension up to five times. A public tender is projected in the foreseeable future.