Macau likely to end sub-concessions system for casino operators

A public consultation on gaming law opened today.
A public consultation on gaming law opened today.

Under the revision of the city’s gaming law, Macau wants to end the current sub-concession system and increase oversight of gaming concessionaires and junket operations.

Macau.- According to local media reports, authorities in Macau want to end the current sub-concession system that led to the creation of three additional Macau casino licences. The government also wants to increase the oversight of gaming concessionaires and junket operations, but it will maintain at least six gaming concessions.

the news comes as Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau beings a public consultation on the revision of the city’s gaming law, which will run until October 29.

Lei Wai Nong, Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, said: “We don’t want to encourage any more sub-concession arrangements, because we want to ensure stability in our gaming concession system…they… should not expand endlessly.”

He also revealed the government might invite the public to give its view on the maximum number of gaming concessions that ought to be permitted in the city.

Authorities have also proposed electing “delegates” to Macau’s gaming concessions, so it can have a “greater checking” limit on the activity of the gaming firms. A delegate system is already used to monitor other forms of public concession.

Government delegates would be sent to gaming concessionaries to enable the direct monitoring of daily operations. Authorities have also suggested that administrators should meet certain requirements and get government endorsement before distributing profits, regardless of whether it be in cash or shares.

Lei Wai Nong said: “We want to reinforce the monitoring on the gaming companies. 

“I want to stress that our regulations need to be updated to ensure that the development of the gaming industry will be sustainable, and healthy.”

Macau’s current casino licences are due to expire in June 2022. However, the city’s gaming laws state that licences can be extended for up to five years from the original 20-year term.

Sandford C. Bernstein said: “It is not yet announced how many concessions will be granted but to us, it is clear there will be at least six and the chances of additional concessions are low as the government repeated the mantra of sustainable development.”

Diversification of Macau’s economy

Analysts suggest that the upcoming retendering of Macau’s casino licences is an opportunity to implement changes to the licence criteria.

A research paper from Pedro Cortes, managing partner at law firm Rato, Ling, Lei & Cortes, and Antonio Lobo Viela, an advisor on gaming-related matters, proposes requirements for operators to help the diversification of Macau’s economy.

According to the analysts, Macau has a weak economy that is “excessively dependent on tourism and gaming,” something that came starkly into view after during Covid-19 countermeasures.

Analysts also suggest there should be a requirement for proposals for investment in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA) to create an international world-class tourism destination, recognising the uniqueness of Macau’s cultural and social resources.

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