Yesterday reportedly saw the Legislative Assembly of Macau formally approve the first reading of the enclave’s comprehensive draft gaming bill and subsequently send the proposed legislation to a sub-committee for closed-door discussions on potential alterations or additions.
According to a report from Inside Asian Gaming, the former Portuguese enclave’s Economy and Finance Secretary, Lei Wai Nong, introduced the outline measure, which is officially entitled Amendment to Law Number 16/2001, to the 33-member Legislative Assembly with the required deliberations now expected to begin after the Chinese New Year holidays.
Macau is home to over 40 casinos operated by 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. However, the source detailed that every one of these firm’s existing licenses are due to expire in June with the draft gaming bill proposing to extend these companies concessions by a further ten years to the summer of 2032 following a strict re-tendering exercise.
Lei reportedly told legislators that the future development and promotion of non-gaming elements would likely play a key role in this process with the government also keen on refining future casino licensees’ corporate social responsibility requirements. As such and he purportedly explained that his office would be asking applicants to put forward their best ideas before holding negotiations concerning any relevant adjustments.
Lei reportedly stated…
“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.”
Inside Asian Gaming reported that one major change contained within the draft gaming bill would see Macau effectively abolish satellite casinos and sub-concessions by obliging all gambling operators to conduct business out of premises owned by one of the six concessionaires. This proposal has purportedly drawn criticism from Legislative Assembly members owing to the fact that some 7,000 locals are currently employed by such ancillary venues with their proprietors furthermore said to be holding significant bank loans.
Lei reportedly responded by declaring that the draft gaming bill has not been designed to ‘kill’ or ‘prohibit’ satellite casinos and contains a clause that would give such subservient properties up to three years to alter their operational structures. But the legislator purportedly later refused to answer questions regarding the potential futures of staff at these facilities after disclosing that only the overall proscription was to be discussed in committee.