Macau Assembly Standing Committee finalises draft gaming law, expected to pass next week

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Macau’s new Gaming Law, which has been under discussion by the Second Standing Committee of the Legislative Assembly (AL) was discussed by the committee for the last time on Wednesday, reported Inside Asian Gaming.

On January 18th this year, the Macau government published the draft amendments to its Gaming Law. Macau’s gaming licences issued in the early 2000s were set to expire on 31 December 2022, after an extension was provided in March this year.

The concession period under the draft law would be a maximum of 10 years, but it could be extended by a further 3 years under exceptional circumstances. The operating concessions whose licenses are set to expire include Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts, Wynn Resorts, Galaxy Entertainment, Melco Resorts, and SJM Resorts.

The final draft of the law as reported by Markets Insider includes the following changes:

  • Establishes a minimum gross gaming revenue (GGR) requirement per gaming table and slot machine.
  • Allows satellite casinos to continue to operate under a management fee, but they cannot participate in the profit-sharing or commission agreement with the gaming concessionaires.
  • Concessionaires and shareholders owning at least 5% of the companies may not hold the capital of other concessionaires directly but can hold up to 5% indirectly.
    Concession-holding entities cannot be listed publicly.
  • Chief executives can waive up to 5% of the GGR tax if the concessionaires bring in overseas customers from outside of China.
  • Concessionaires must maintain a minimum of $5 billion Macanese patacas (MOP) throughout the license period.

Last month, the original version of the draft law was amended to permit satellite casinos to operate for a longer period than three year transition period. According to the draft, satellite casinos must be operating out of property owned by one of the six concessionaires. They were given a three-year timetable to comply.

The New Macau Gaming Staff Rights Association recently said that casino job layoffs are likely once the Chinese Special Administrative Region (SAR) issues each casino gaming operator fresh tenders. China’s “zero COVID” pandemic response continuation has largely halted the recovery while other casino markets like Las Vegas and Goa have recovered to pre-Covid levels.