Macau businessman Chan Meng Kam (pictured centre) has told GGRAsia he is “thinking about” bidding for a Macau gaming licence, in the event of a new public tender process.
He also told us that a new two-star hotel he is planning to build – on plots of land just to the southeast of SJM Holdings Ltd’s Grand Lisboa property on Macau peninsula – was in the ”preparation phase”. Asked if he would seek to have gaming at the new property, Mr Chan said that there was “not yet any planning of the gaming side”.
Mr Chan’s privately-held Golden Dragon Group already runs four Macau casino hotels controlling circa 200 gaming tables under so-called “service agreements”.
The rights of the six current Macau licensees expire in either 2020 or 2022, and there has been some speculation among scholars and investment analysts that the Macau government might allow other investors to enter the sector, including possibly one or more of the current third-party backers. Some commentators have in any case called for an end to the current service agreement system once there is the anticipated new public tender process for Macau gaming rights.
In March this year Mr Chan had said he hoped locals could “participate” in the process of deciding future gaming rights for the Macau market.
The service agreement system – a legacy from the monopoly era of entrepreneur Stanley Ho Hung Sun – involves third-party investors piggybacking on the permits of one of the current licensees. There are six licensees presently in the Macau market, but only three – SJM Holdings, Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd and Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd – operate service agreements. Mr Chan presently cooperates with SJM Holdings for the gaming at three of his current properties, and with Melco Resorts for the other one.
On Tuesday GGRAsia reported that Mr Chan’s group was in the process of rebranding his casino hotel portfolio to include the word “dragon” in all the property names.
When GGRAsia spoke to Mr Chan on Wednesday to ask him about the significance of that renaming, he told us merely that he liked the name “dragon”, and wanted to include it across the group’s venues.
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“All of the [casino] concessionaires in Macau respect the law in China, and we never promote gaming in China”
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President of Macau casino operator Sands China