Asia round-up exclusive: IBIA CEO on Asian market; Melco extends subconcession & Macau

By Gambling Insider

Khalid Ali gives his thoughts on the Asian betting market

IBIA CEO Khalid Ali has shared his thoughts on the current state of the Asian betting market, and how the IBIA is looking to combat illegal activity throughout the region.

He exclusively told Gambling Insider: “Asia is more challenging. We see the developments in Asia and are in contact with the Asian Racing Federation, one of the arms that are fighting against illegal operators in Asia.”

He detailed some of the differences in stages of development for betting jurisdictions throughout Asia, describing the Australian market as more advanced, with operators including Ladbrokes and bet365 feeding into the association’s “global alert platform.”

Ali went on to draw a comparison with the Indian market, saying: “When we look at jurisdictions and their capabilities of providing integrity, however, India is an example of a jurisdiction that hasn’t ranked so well; it has no regulation, the taxation’s very poor and there are just no measures for integrity.”

These differences paint a clear picture of some of the challenges and obstacles the IBIA is facing in combating betting corruption and protecting gambling integrity in the highly variable Asian industry.

The full interview with Ali will feature in September's Sports Betting Focus magazine.

Melco agrees to extend gaming subconcession

Melco Resorts has entered into an amendment agreement to extend its subconcession contract, originally due to expire on 26 June 2022, until 31 December 2022.

Melco will pay a sum of MOP$47m (US$5.8m) to the Macau Government to extend the contract, and is required to submit a bank guarantee of no less than MOP$820m within three months of signing the agreement. This guarantee is intended to cover any potential “labour liabilities upon expiry of the subconcession.”

The Government has warned that the guarantee amount may increase, depending on the number of staff employed by Melco.

Under the terms of agreement, the gaming areas, gaming support areas and gaming equipment of the Altira, City of Dreams and Studio City casinos will revert to the Macau SAR upon the expiration of the subconcession.

Melco and the subsidiary companies that hold the land lease rights to the casino properties are also committed to signing an agreement that will revert the three casinos to the Macau SAR.

Additionally, the agreement under which Melco operates the Studio City Casino has been revised to adhere to changes in Macau's gaming law. Previous conditions imposed by the government in regard to shareholding requirements are no longer applicable.

Macau casinos remain open amid Covid outbreak

A recent rise in Covid-19 cases in Macau prompted the Government to introduce a number of closures for businesses and services.

Cinemas, hair salons and nightclubs are among the establishments set to close by 5pm local time on 23 June 2022. Casinos, however, have escaped the mandatory closures set out in the Government’s Executive Order, despite a string of infections being linked to them.

Four cases have been linked to a wedding held on 18 June at SJM Holdings’ Grand Lisboa Palace, and a further five cases were recorded among casino staff in the region.

Macau’s Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre has reported that it has identified a total of 110 positive cases so far.

Closures have extended from local businesses to include parks, gardens and exhibition halls.

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