Macau: US-controlled casinos will not be treated differently, Fitch says


Analysts at Fitch Ratings Inc. stated US casinos in Macau are key to the local gaming industry and won’t be treated any differently from local casino operators.

Macau.- Fitch Ratings Inc. has stated that US controlled Macau casinos will not be treated any differently than those owned by Chinese entities, given Macau’s recent renewal of gaming concessions

Analysts added that the US casino subsidiaries had invested money in the city and employed a lot of local citizens over the years.

Currently, the US holding companies in Macau are Wynn Macau Ltd., Sands China Ltd. and MGM China Holdings Ltd. The casinos are subsidiaries of Wynn Resorts Inc., Las Vegas Sands Corp. and MGM Resorts International.

Samuel Hu, Connor Parks and Colin Mansfield said all operators supported policy goals and ensured they were not swayed by the Covid-19 pandemic to lay off staff. Plus, they’ve already paid billions of dollars in taxes.

Last year, authorities in Macau carried out a series of public consultations on gaming laws. Attendees expressed concerns about the number and duration of future gaming concessions and proposed controls on dividend distribution.

Questions about a possible end to the current sub-concession system that led to the creation of three additional Macau casino licences also arose during the sessions.

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.”

There were also concerns regarding Macau’s current casino licences that 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.

Due to this situation, Fitch put the credit ratings of Macau operators on a negative watch waiting for authorities to provide a clearer picture of the future of the city.

Analysts at JP Morgan Securities have recently said the casino licences renewal could involve committing certain budgets for non-gaming projects in the city.

Last year, Hengqin was designated a special zone by Chinese authorities to help diversify Macau’s economy and move away from its reliance on gaming.

The Guangdong-Macau cooperation zone in Hengqin will be focused on technology and high-end manufacturing, traditional Chinese medicine, tourism and MICE as well as finance.

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