The Macau six, aka the six current casino firms licensed to operate games of fortune in the Chinese Special Administrative Region (SAR), have been named the provisional winners of the enclave’s competitive bidding period.
Macau casino licenses for the Chinese subsidiaries of Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts, and MGM Resorts, plus China-based Melco Resorts, Galaxy Entertainment, and SJM Resorts, terminate at the end of 2022 after a 20-year validity. The Chinese SAR, largely expected to issue the six companies fresh concessions, made it official this morning by declaring those entities as the winners of its six gaming licenses that will run from Jan. 1, 2023, through Dec. 31, 2033.
Why were these six companies chosen? The government has chosen these six companies in accordance with the law, and the Bidding Committee, in accordance with the law, focused on the tenderers’ social responsibility plans, and this condition was accepted by the government,” revealed Macau Secretary for Administration and Justice André Cheong Weng Chon.
With Macau strongly expected to maintain the status quo with its present half-dozen gaming operators, the region’s open bidding period attracted only one outsider. The pitch came from Malaysia-based Genting Group, the global gaming and hospitality giant best known in the US for its Resorts World casinos in Las Vegas and New York.
Cheong said the government would not be immediately publishing the grading scores that the seven bidding companies received from the Bidding Committee. The secretary had no comment on how seriously Genting was considered for market inclusion.
Macau has been ordered by China President Xi Jinping to undergo efforts to distance itself from casino gaming. Beijing believes the massive amounts of mainland capital that have flown through Macau’s casinos and the region’s favorable tax laws pose national security threats to the People’s Republic.
Xi has encouraged Macau to embrace non-gaming developments. The mainland is trying to assist in the mission with the development of Macau’s bond exchange, which commenced in late 2020.
Macau is passing along the mainland directive to its licensed casinos. Under the terms of the new concessions, each gaming license will be required to invest a certain amount of capital into non-gaming updates to their resorts.
“The six companies that have been provisionally awarded will be developing the non-gaming and gaming sectors for Macau. They have all submitted plans to the government for future investments, but no details can be announced at this stage,” Cheong explained.
The six casinos are expected to be jointly required to invest between $12.4 billion to $20 billion.
Macau declaring the six current operators as the winners of its 2023 licensing round is major news for investors in the six firms. The announcement solidifies each company’s position in the Chinese gaming hub and allows for shareholders to remain patient for a COVID-19 recovery.
With the six casinos informed that they will continue to be welcomed in Macau, the local government will now finalize contracts with each company. Those documents will include each firm’s capital requirement for non-gaming projects.
Melco was the first to thank Macau for the new concession.
“We are honored to have been selected and granted a provisional award for the concession to operate gaming in Macau and would like to thank the Macau government for running a smooth and transparent process. We are committed to Macau and its development as Asia’s premier tourist destination,” commented Melco Resorts Chair and CEO Lawrence Ho.
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