Macau releases re-tendering rules for casinos

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The Macao SAR Government on Tuesday published the rules for the re-tendering of Macau gaming licenses. Licenses of six casinos are set to expire at the year-end after an extension of six months.

Titled Administrative Regulation 28/2022, the regulations follow Macau’s amended gaming law and lay down rules for issuing new licenses to foreign concessionaires. The rules, published in Traditional Chinese and Portuguese, follow the passing of Macau’s amended gaming law last month. One of the authorities’ priorities is to license companies that are able to attract foreign customers.

Earlier this year, the government even announced that it plans to introduce tax breaks for concessionaires that successfully attract visitors from overseas. Impacted by China’s zero Covid19 policy, Macau has seen fewer international visitors in the last few years.

According to Financial Times, SJM Holdings, the Macau casino empire founded by the late gambling tycoon Stanley Ho, is burning through its cash reserves due to the zero-Covid regime to operate the business.

The legal framework has been recently revised to limit the concessionaire term to 10 years. Until recently, Macau had enjoyed a monopoly in legalized casino gaming in East and Southeast Asia. The emergence of new destinations like the Philippines and Japan have impacted the market share of Macau.

The enclave government said it would prioritize companies that have the interest to invest in the gaming sector and in non-gaming-related projects. The government also would prefer companies that have prior experience in running gambling operations and operating games of chance. JP Morgan’s analysts in Memo said they expect all the six incumbents to end up being the new winners.

Macau imposes a 39 per cent gambling tax which is made up of 35 per cent of gross gambling revenue, plus other levies of 1.6 per cent to fund the Macau Foundation’s charitable and other activities, with another 2.4 per cent going to local funds and for tourism development.