Macau has announced the winners of its casino licence retender – and there are no surprises.
Macau.- The government committee overseeing the Macau casino licence tender process has announced its preliminary decisions. All six current casino operators in Macau will retain their presence, gaining new 10-year gaming concessions to begin in January 2023.
As some many predicted, the one outsider in the bidding process, GMM Limited, which is linked to Lim Kok Thay, chairman of Genting Group, did not win a concession.
During a press conference on Saturday (November 26), Andre Cheong Weng Chun, chairman of the tender committee and Secretary of Administration and Justice, said the decision was reached after five rounds of negotiations with the seven bidders.
He said the casino policy committee had analysed the bids based on the three main tender criteria: ensuring local employment stability, exploring overseas markets, and developing non-gaming options.
According to Macau Business, the list of six provisional winners of the concessions was revealed in the following order: MGM China Holdings Ltd, Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd, Sands China Ltd, Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd, Wynn Macau Ltd and SJM Holdings Ltd.
Andre Cheong Weng Chun said that MGM China’s proposal received the highest score. Galaxy Entertainment’s proposal came in second, followed by Sands China, Melco Resorts and Wynn Macau. SJM Holdings’ proposal received the lowest score out of the winners. Cheong did not disclose the actual scores.
Regarding GMM, Cheong only said: “GMM Limited is a firm that has only recently been incorporated in Macau… and does not have any experience in the Macau gaming industry.”
The Macau government will discuss the details of the new concessions with the six incumbents before the end of this year in order to start the concessions as scheduled in January.
Andre Cheong Weng Chun said that it was not the moment to disclose the amount of investment that each winning bidder has committed to. Details of non-gaming projects and exact plans to attract overseas tourists were not revealed but Cheong said all franchisees came up with detailed action plans on annual investments.
Credit Suisse AG has predicted that Macau’s casino operators might have to spend between HKD10bn (US$1.27bn) and HKD20bn (US$2.54bn) on non-gaming activities over the next 10 years in exchange for gaming rights.
Cheong said: “We believe the repercussions of Covid-19 will only be temporary… and the normal travel arrangements will be restored after the pandemic so that the concessionaires can carry out different plans and projects in accordance with their pledges.”
Before the rights are definitively assigned, casino operators must settle their annual gambling commission with the government.