The Macau government is planning to scrap a proposal that the city’s so-called satellite casino operators should tie the ownership of their respective gaming floors to one of the next generation of gaming concessions, said veteran city legislator Chan Chak Mo, in comments to reporters at the Legislative Assembly on Friday.
Nonetheless, under the gaming law amendment bill currently going through the assembly, third-party entities in the form of “management companies” would be the designated runners of such satellite venues. A three-year grace period would be allowed for that to happen.
But under the proposed statute, those management company entities will be barred from having a share of the gaming revenue generated in such a venue via whichever gaming concessionaire might supply the gaming licence.
A local gaming scholar recently told GGRAsia that in his view that planned ban on concessionaires sharing revenue with third-party managers – as mentioned in the gaming law amendment – meant Macau’s long-standing satellite casino system had “effectively collapsed”.
Before Friday’s announcement about dropping the plan for satellite venue gaming areas being owned by concessionaires, there was to have been also a three-year transition period for that to be effected.
Mr Chan gave the update on the satellite situation following a closed-doors meeting between an assembly committee he heads, that is scrutinising the bill, and local government officials. Those present included Lei Wai Nong, Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance. Mr Lei later left the assembly without speaking to reporters.
Presently, there are 18 operating satellite casinos in the city, with 14 of them currently tied to the gaming rights of concessionaire SJM Holdings Ltd. A further three are tied to Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. The other one is tied to Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd.
One satellite – the gaming operation at the Grand Emperor Hotel in downtown Macau – is to end casino business on June 26, said the hotel’s promoter Emperor Entertainment Hotel Ltd, in an April 1 filing in Hong Kong, citing the “gloomy outlook of the high-end gaming segment,” and protection of shareholder interests.
In other developments on Friday, legislator Mr Chan told reporters the Macau government also intended to drop a proposal that any corporate entity holding a gaming concession from the city would need to be dissolved in the event it failed to gain fresh gaming rights after the expiry of the current concessions this year.
The government’s flexibility on that point took into consideration that the gaming company ought to be allowed to adjust its charter and change its business scope, in order to be able to continue to manage any non-gaming businesses it ran in Macau.
Under the terms of the existing concession contracts, only the gaming areas of casino resorts would revert to the government in the event a gaming concession were not renewed.
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