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NEWS 15 March 2019

MGM China and SJM Holdings extend Macau casino licenses

By Nathan Joyes

Macau has extended casino licenses for operators MGM China and SJM Holdings until 2022.

Their current licenses were set to expire in 2020 but the Macau government has announced both operators will pay a one-off fee of MOP200m ($25m) to secure extensions.

Until now, the Macau government had remained very quiet on the subject, stating it was potentially going to focus on other areas, such as tourism, to increase revenue.

Macau’s economy is reliant on casinos, as 80% of taxes are accumulated from these venues.

Sands China, Wynn Macau, Galaxy Entertainment and Melco Resorts & Entertainment will all need to rebid if they want their licenses renewed, which are due to expire in June 2022.

In February, gross gaming revenue in Macau increased by 4% year-on-year to MOP25.4bn ($3.14bn).

Grant Govertsen, an analyst at Union Gaming in Macau, is quoted as saying the license situation will affect share prices: "We believe the extensions have more to do with making the ultimate task of the license rebid situation easier, while at the same time making sure the labour market remains stable."

Meanwhile, at a media breifing, Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lionel Leong Vai Tac, raised the possibility of a new public tender process: "When the gaming concessions expire, the Macau government is inclined to launch a public tender [for new gaming rights]."

RELATED TAGS: Casino | Legal & Regulatory | Mergers & Acquisitions
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