Fresh Macau Casino Licenses Issued Before June 2022 Expiry, Top Official Asserts
The six Macau casino operators in the Chinese Special Administrative Region (SAR) are scheduled to see their coveted gaming privileges expire on June 26, 2022.
Macau’s local government has been conducting an in-depth review of its gaming industry for several years ahead of the scheduled concession expirations. The primary goal of the analysis is to better appease the mainland and People’s Republic President Xi Jinping’s demands that Macau strengthen its regulatory safeguards.
Xi has expressed that Macau should do more to assure China that its casinos are not actively catering to mainlanders seeking to move large amounts of capital from the People’s Republic’s jurisdiction to the SAR autonomous tax haven.
COVID-19 has delayed Macau’s public consultations regarding new gaming governances, but one of the most powerful individuals in the region revealed this week that the re-licensing process remains on schedule. Macau Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong said Monday that the re-tendering process is still on track despite pandemic impediments.
Macau has remained relatively silent on the inner workings of its gaming review. Lei says a comprehensive report on updated regulatory conditions will be made public ahead of the June 2022 casino license expirations. Macau has set a March deadline for the conclusions to be published.
The current gaming law was created 20 years ago and did not cover some issues. We will adjust our regulations and take into account the opinions of society, including the gaming sector,” Lei explained, as first reported by Inside Asian Gaming.
Gaming analysts focused on Macau expect all six casino concessionaires to receive fresh operating permits. The duration of the permits, however, might not run for 20 years as they did under Macau’s first commercial gambling supervisory environment.
A September note from financial services firm Goldman Sachs projected that the 2022 Macau casino licenses might run for a 10-year period through June of 2032.
Lei’s comments are a positive development for the ravaged Macau economy.
Reissuing fresh casino licenses should at the very least provide a sense of calm in the market. Investors have been fleeing the six publicly traded casino stocks due to the vast uncertainty surrounding the industry.
One major component of the gaming industry that was expected to face much scrutiny — junket groups — has seemingly already met its fate.
Junkets for years have been finding VIP high rollers on the mainland and organizing travel for them to Macau. Since marketing gambling on the mainland is illegal, the promoters advertise first-class VIP luxury travel and accommodations paired with an array of opulent amenities and experiences to such clients. But once arrived in Macau, the well-to-do customers are typically offered casino credit in a similar amount to the cost of their trip expense.
China has long believed such operations are nothing more than convenient avenues for Chinese people to move money to Macau. The November arrest of Suncity Group founder, CEO, and Chairman Alvin Chau — the face of the Macau junket industry — has signaled the end of such businesses.
Macau junket rooms inside casinos have nearly all closed. Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) has reportedly told junkets and casinos that they can no longer loan gambling credit to such VIP players.
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