Macau’s six casino operators have welcomed “the timely unveiling” of key aspects of a bill proposing a new regulatory system for gaming that will shape how the industry looks for years ahead. In separate press releases, the companies said the bill provided “clear guidelines” on several of the proposed changes. The operators also said they planned to take part in a licence retendering process, to be held under the new framework.
A summary of the bill for the new gaming framework – stating there would be a maximum of six concessions, with a lifespan of up to 10 years – was detailed on Friday.
MGM China Holdings Ltd said it “welcomes and supports the timely unveiling” of the bill for the city’s new gaming framework. “The bill … provides details over various key aspects of the overall administrative procedures and timetable, outlining a clear roadmap on the upcoming important milestone of retendering which is critical to maintain a healthy and sustainable development for the gaming industry in the future,” sated the company.
The government has said previously Macau’s gaming law needs to be updated as a linked issue to a fresh public tender process for Macau gaming rights. The existing six concessions are due to expire in June.
Sands China Ltd said Friday’s announcement of the bill provided “clear guidelines on several proposed changes following feedback from the industry and the general public.” It added: “Sands China … is looking forward to submitting its bid for a Macau gaming concession.”
The freshly-announced bill is to be sent to the city’s Legislative Assembly, to be voted on by its members. The length of time that procedure will take depends on the city’s legislators, who can also propose changes to the bill. Macau’s Secretary for Administration and Justice, André Cheong Weng Chon, said the government would consider extending the duration of the existing concessions, to provide lawmakers with enough time to complete the review process.
SJM Resorts SA, the local unit of SJM Holdings Ltd, also said it supported the proposed amendments to Macau’s gaming law. “The gaming bill … reflects the government has taken into account the views collected from the industry and various sectors during the public consultation,” stated the firm. “SJM is getting prepared for the new tendering [process] while awaiting the announcement of more details from the government.”
According to the summary of the bill, the Macau government has dropped a proposal to appoint “delegates” to Macau’s gaming concessions, that would have monitored the operation of the gaming firms.
The Macau government had previously suggested a need to approve dividend distribution to shareholders by the city’s casino operators. The proposal was included in a government document regarding the revision of the city’s gaming law, published in September for public consultation. There was no reference to such proposal in Friday’s press conference.
In its release, Wynn Macau Ltd said it was “encouraged that the government had expedited the review process and also taken into consideration the views of the industry and the general public, and provided clarity on many of the outstanding issues.”
It added: “We look forward to working closely with the government and actively participating in the public tender process.”
Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd said it would “support the related work” following the announcement of the amendments to Macau’s gaming law. The release quoted Lui Che Woo, the group’s chairman, as saying: “We believe that having optimised laws and regulations in place will lay a solid foundation for the city’s steady development and propel the synergetic development of the gaming industry, leading to Macau’s overall economic resilience and diversity.”
Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd also said it was “committed to participating in the public tender” for a new gaming concession in Macau. The company added that it was “grateful to the [Macau] government for considering the opinions from all sectors of society and the gaming industry” regarding the proposed amendments to the gaming law.
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