The Macau government is minded to insist on an override of normal rules of limited liability applicable for Macau firms incorporated in that way – when it comes to Macau gaming concession companies that might be unsuccessful in getting new casino rights under a fresh public tender.
That is according to local legislator Chan Chak Mo, in comments to the media on Tuesday, following a closed-doors meeting between a Legislative Assembly committee he heads, and government officials.
The committee is scrutinising the city’s gaming law amendment bill deemed a pre-condition of a fresh public tender.
The topic of the extent of liability for any companies unsuccessful in gaining a new tender, is part of Article 50 of the draft bill, which deals with concession dissolution.
Among other things, the article says that in the event of an unsuccessful tender, and regarding such a concession entity, people that are either shareholders with 5 percent or more; directors; or on a management body of a gaming concessionaire, must bear all the firm’s liabilities, including guaranteeing all gaming chips in circulation.
A number of commentators had mentioned to GGRAsia that such an approach would be a departure from normal obligations for limited-liability firms in the Macau commercial sector, and a departure from the Macau Commercial Code.
Mr Chan noted in his Tuesday comments, that the government’s wish to extend the concept of liability in the case of any dissolving concession, was regarded as a “special regulation”, and in light of the special position of such concessions within the Macau economy.
The government was “considering how to deal with,” the draft bill’s proposals on that topic, “so as to ensure that the liabilities will be taken care of”, said Mr Chan.
Mr Chan said on Tuesday the Macau government would now work on revisions to the draft bill. He expected that such a process could take up to “three weeks” during April.
He said, regarding the timetable for the bill in relation to a new public tender: “The deadline… remains: the final reading and approval of the bill will be done prior to the expiry date” of the current concessions, which curently falls on June 26.
All of Macau’s six casino operators have confirmed to GGRAsia they have already applied to the Macau government for an extension until December 31 of their existing rights, as made feasible by the local authorities as the latter work to prepare a new public tender for Macau gaming permits. Such requests have still to be determined by the government.
Article 50 of the draft bill also says that a corporate entity holding a gaming concession from the city would need to be dissolved if it failed to gain fresh gaming rights.
Government officials told Mr Chan’s committee last week that the government was considering adjusting that provision, so that a gaming concession company would be able to adjust its scope of activities in order to keep on managing the non-gaming businesses – such as hotel and meeting space – under its charge.
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