Seven operators compete for six Macau casino licenses as the world’s gambling capital opens bids

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Seven businesses put on a show for Macau’s regulators in a keenly watched competition for the opportunity to run six casino licenses in the biggest gaming hotspot on earth. The six currently operating casino operators, whose licenses are set to expire on December 31, as well as GMM Limited, an affiliate of Malaysian casino operator Genting Malaysia, which is under the control of local businessman Lim Kok Thay, made up the seven firms.

In Macau, at China Plaza, the proposals were submitted to the Committee for Gaming Concessions Public Tender, which was overseen by Secretaries of Economy and Finance, Lei Wai Nong and Administration and Justice Andre Cheong. The administration said in a statement on Friday night that all seven companies had been approved for the bidding process.

“The bid opening process is carried out in accordance with the requirements of the law and the tender submission documents. After the bids are opened, we will consult and discuss with the accepted companies participating in the bidding and review the contents of the tender submissions,” Cheong said on the city’s public broadcaster Teledifusao de Macau (TDM).

Before naming six winners by the end of November or early December 2022, analysts anticipate the government to evaluate the proposals and establish specific terms and conditions with the bidders. The only region in China where residents can legally gamble in casinos is Macau, their special administrative province.

The firms to have submitted the bid are- Sands China (1928. HK), Wynn Macau (1128. HK), Galaxy Entertainment (0027. HK), MGM China (2282. HK), SJM Holdings (0880. HK), Melco Resorts and GMM Limited.

The talent contest was the result of years of effort by the government of Macau to regulate gambling in the epicenter of global gambling, as it continues to walk a tight line between its reliance on casino revenues for funding and Beijing’s efforts to diversify the city’s economy away from gambling.

Within the first seven months of 2022, the Macau government collected roughly 13.96 billion patacas (US$1.73 billion) in direct gambling taxes, a decrease of 37.1% from the same period in 2021 when the Covid-19 outbreak shut the city’s borders to high rollers and visitors from Mainland China.