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Macau's draft gaming bill pass

Macau’s draft gaming bill goes thru the first Legislative Assembly reading

Chris Grand |
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Barely four days ago, the Macau Legislative Assembly formally approved the first reading of the enclave’s comprehensive draft gaming bill, which now has to be sent to the sub-committee for closed-door deliberations on any additions or changes.

According to a report by Inside Asian Gaming, the former Portuguese enclave’s Economy and Finance Secretary, Lei Wai Nong, presented the framework measure to the 33-member Legislative Assembly, with required deliberations set to commence after the Chinese New Year holidays.

Sextuple scenario

Macau can be said to be a casino paradise. SJM Holdings Limited, Galaxy Entertainment Group Limited, Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited, MGM China Holdings Limited, and the local Sands China Limited and Wynn Macau Limited subordinates of Las Vegas Sands Corporation and Wynn Resorts Limited, respectively, operate over 40 casinos in Macau.

However, according to the source, all of the above firms’ current licenses are set to expire in June, though the draft gaming bill is proposing to have their concessions extended for another 10 years, until the summer of 2032, following one of the most strict re-tendering processes.

Adjutant attention

According to reports, Lei Wai Nong informed legislators that the future development and promotion of non-gaming aspects will most likely play an important role in the entire process and that the government had its own interests in fine-tuning future casino licensees’ CSR criteria. As a result, he said that his office would go ahead and urge candidates to submit their final proposals before they can begin any sort of engagements regarding any necessary revisions.

“In order to select the best concession candidates, we will set the criteria for non-gaming elements in the tender. Gaming was the first visiting purpose of Macau’s visitor arrivals before 2016 but this has now changed to non-gaming elements such as shopping and accommodation. Thus, non-gaming elements in the future will be enhanced, enriched, and diversified based on the social and market accumulation of the previous 20 years,” said Lei Wai Nong.

Dependency dilemma

According to a report by Inside Asian Gaming, a primary change that’s in the draft gaming bill is a move that will see Macau banning satellite casinos and sub-concessions by requiring the entire gambling operators to undertake their business operations out of the premises that are owned by one of the 6 concessionaries. This move has reportedly garnered criticism from Legislative Assembly members because such ancillary venues employ approximately 7,000 residents, and their owners are also alleged to be in possession of considerable bank loans.

Indecisive response

Lei Wai Nong reportedly issued a response stating that the draft gaming bill hasn’t been designed with the intention of killing or prohibiting the operations of satellite casinos. He further states that the draft gaming bill consists of a clause that would allow such subservient properties a period of up to 3 years to change their operating systems and structures. However, after revealing that only the overall proposition will be debated in committee, the member allegedly declined to answer questions about the probable futures of personnel at these sites.

Chinese New Year Entertainment Limited Galaxy Entertainment Group Limited gaming bill Lei Wai Nong Macau Melco Resorts MGM China Holdings Limited SJM Holdings Limited Wynn Macau

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