GMM unlikely to win gaming concession in Macau, analysts say

GMM Limited is linked to Lim Kok Thay, chairman of Genting Group.
GMM Limited is linked to Lim Kok Thay, chairman of Genting Group.

Several analysts agree that it is unlikely that Macau will leave out any of its six current casino operators.

Macau.- GMM Limited‘s bid for one of Macau’s six casino licences surprised many industry analysts, but few people expect Macau to grant a licence to the newcomer. The company, which is linked to Lim Kok Thay, chairman of Genting Group, has expressed confidence, but it seems unlikely that Macau would reject any of its current six casino operators.

Alidad Tash, a Macau-based gaming analyst, told Macau News Agency: “Why would any of the current six be let go? They’ve got everything the government has asked them to do: they have properties, they have employees, and they have 20 years of history.”

Brokerage JP Morgan stressed: “It is unlikely for a government to choose a new foreign operator over incumbents, who have invested billions of dollars and employed local staff over two decades, including in an unprecedented downturn like this.”

It was also widely believed that only the six incumbents would bid for Macau’s new concessions because the government has reiterated that it will not zone new plots for the development of gaming resorts. However, Ben Lee, managing director of IGamiX Management & Consulting, thinks GMM has “a fairly good chance” of winning a concession.

According to Lee “Genting has is its experience and willingness to invest in theme parks. Macau has talked that up in the past, and all the existing six operators – despite Galaxy Entertainment Group talking about it – walked away from the idea.”

Brokerage Nomura agreed, saying GGM could design a resort that would address the government’s priorities as opposed to the incumbents who have already developed resorts that were geared to the VIP-heavy days of the past.

As for which company could lose out if GMM wins a licence, Lee told Macau News Agency it could be Wynn Macau as it has done the least in terms of developing non-gaming offerings and building bridges with local authorities and Beijing.

Wynn Macau is going through changes. Ciarán Carruthers has recently left his position as a chief operating officer at Wynn Macau to become Crown Resorts CEO while Linda Chen took over as President of Wynn Macau Limited in addition to her current role as vice chairman.

Gaming revenue in Macau in the first eight months of 2022 was MOP28.86bn (US$3.6bn), down 53.4 per cent year-on-year, and only 14.6 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

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Genting Group