Sunday, March 26

Seven companies bid for new casino licenses in Macau

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HONG KONG — Macau’s government said on Wednesday that seven companies made bids for new casino licenses in the world’s biggest gaming hub.

The government is expected to review the proposals and negotiate with the bidders on detailed terms and conditions, before announcing six winners by the end of November or early December, analysts said.

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All seven incumbents — Sands China, Wynn Macau , Galaxy Entertainment, MGM China, SJM Holdings, Melco Resorts and GMM Limited — submitted bids for the tender ahead of the expiration of their licenses at the end of this year, a government statement said.

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According to local media, GMM is linked to Malaysian tourism and gambling conglomerate Genting Group.

The bidding committee will conduct the bid opening process on Sept. 16, the government said.

Macau for the first time imposed a formal table cap and minimum income requirements for the new operators, set to begin their contracts at the start of 2023.

The move is part of a broader overhaul of legislation for Macau’s gambling industry and gives authorities much tighter oversight and control over the casino operators, which raked in $36 billion in 2019, prior to COVID-19.

The government kicked off the highly anticipated bidding process in July, when it said global gaming operators could submit bids for new licenses from July 29 until Sept. 14. The bidding process took place amid Macau’s worst outbreak of COVID-19, which led to a 12-day closure of casinos in July. While casinos in the Chinese special administrative region have re-opened, there is little business, as restrictions are only being lifted slowly. (Reporting by Farah Master, Twinnie Siu and Donny Kwok; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Kim Coghill)