Macau’s Government officially revealed that seven operators will compete for the new casino licenses in the special administrative region (SAR) of China, with the new contracts set to start at the beginning of 2023.
The application period for companies to table their bids for one of the Macau casino licenses ended on September 14th. Now, the Government is set to review the proposals and take them into consideration, and then negotiate the terms and conditions with the seven competitors before eventually selecting six winners by the end of November or early December.
Currently, Macau is the only place in the country where citizens are legally allowed to participate in casino gambling, which helped the city grow into the largest gambling hub on a global scale.
As the local Government revealed after the application period deadline, MGM, Wynn Macau, Melco Resorts, Galaxy Entertainment, SJM Holdings, GMM Limited, and Sands China have submitted their casino license tenders. Now, each of the bids will be reviewed in detail by a special committee, which is expected to prioritize the applications that focus on social responsibility, foreign market development, and non-gambling investments.
The bidding committee is set to conduct the bid opening process on Friday, September 16th.
Casino License Application Process Held amid Worst Covid-19 Outbreak in Macau
The local authorities officially announced the beginning of the tender process in July, when they revealed that international gambling operators would be given from July 29th to September 14th to table their tenders. The application was pretty much held amid the worst outbreak of the Covid-19 infection in Macau, which resulted in a 12-day closure of casinos and other non-essential businesses in July. While casinos in the biggest gambling hub were allowed to resume operation, their business has remained relatively slow.
At the end of November or the beginning of December, the Government will announce the six winners in the competition for the special administrative region’s casino operating permits, which means one of the companies listed above will be left behind, despite all the efforts. But this does not mean it will be easy for the rest of them.
According to some experts and market analysts, the current environment made the situation quite challenging for new entrants and only time would tell whether they will be able to generate proper winnings during the concession period, which the Government of Macau has reduced from 20 to 10 years.
For the first time, the special administrative region’s Government imposed a formal limit on the number of tables and gaming machines and minimum income requirements of MOP45.6 billion for new operators. Also, a single gaming table will have to make no less than MOP$7 million, while the authorities have placed a MOP300,000 threshold for individual gaming machines. Operators that receive the licenses will be permitted to operate up to 6,000 gaming tables and 12,000 machines. The move has been part of a more extensive overhaul of the legislation regulating Macau’s gambling industry, under which authorities have been given much tighter oversight and control over the local casino operators.
Wynn Macau was the first gambling company that submitted an application for operating license renewal, with its Chinese unit providing the gambling giant with a solid advantage thanks to its long presence in the area and the fact it has been attractive to international customers.