Firms used to being third-party promoters of Macau satellite casinos and having the option of sharing venue revenue with the relevant gaming concessionaire, may be willing to transition to a so-called management company as required under the city’s updated regulatory framework at the end of a three-year grace period, says a boss at satellite property Ponte 16.
“If the market proves to be still profitable in these coming three years, it is still possible that the satellites will consider transitioning into a management company,” said Hoffman Ma Ho Man, deputy chairman of Success Universe Group Ltd, in comments to GGRAsia. The Hong Kong-listed firm promotes Ponte 16, a casino resort near Macau’s Inner Harbour, and that uses the gaming licence of SJM Holdings Ltd.
Under the new regulatory framework, once the three-year transition phase is concluded, the successor management companies will not be permitted to share revenue with a satellite’s casino licensee.
In addition – according to the gaming law revisions – gaming concessionaires will need to get approval from an incumbent Macau chief executive, regarding any service contract they might wish to have with a management-company partner.
“Even if a fixed fee model” were to be applied to the successor management company, such an arrangement was “still manageable as the satellite operator can factor in its historical performance” in that three-year transition phase, “to decide how much it should receive,” Mr Ma told GGRAsia.
He also noted: “If Macau’s gaming performance – in particular the mass business – can recover well, to pre-Covid level, there is a high chance that many of the existing satellites will still consider transitioning into management companies.”
In August, Success Universe reported Ponte 16 had negative adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of HKD1.0 million (US$127,800) for the first six months of 2022. That compared with negative EBITDA of HKD41.4 million in the first half of 2021.
Macau has 11 satellite casinos that continued to operate under the new 10-year gaming concessions that started on January 1. There had been 18 satellite casinos in the market as of June-end 2022, so venue-wise the sector has shrunk by circa 40 percent.
Nine of the 11 continuing satellite casinos rely on SJM Holdings for gaming. In a Sunday memo following a trip to Macau that weekend by investment analysts from banking group Morgan Stanley, the institution stated – citing its own research – that the nine would continue to pay SJM Holdings “53 percent to 55 percent of their revenue like before”. The performance of those satellite gaming venues was though, expected to be “a drag”, on SJM Holdings, until the market’s gaming business volumes improved, said Morgan Stanley.
Ponte 16 boss Mr Ma nonetheless expressed optimism to GGRAsia regarding the prospects for continuity of business at his own venue. He added that his firm would continue its focus on mass business, and revisit a plan for an extension at the resort complex, in particular regarding non-gaming elements.
The other satellite casinos that continue to rely on SJM Holdings’ licence are: Casino Grandview in Taipa, and the Macau peninsula venues Casino Landmark, Casino Casa Real, Casino Kam Pek Paradise, Casino Fortuna, Casino Emperor Palace, Casino L’Arc Macau, and Casino Legend Palace.
The satellite gaming venue remaining under Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd’s licence is Casino Waldo in downtown Macau. The one using Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd’s gaming rights is Casino Grand Dragon in Taipa.
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