Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lei Wai Nong (pictured in a file photo), has reiterated that backers of existing satellite casinos should not expect to be able to “shut down” a venue, then reopen it later.
Mr Lei’s comments were in the context of local legislators voicing concerns on the economic viability of Macau’s satellite casinos, and the local unemployment that could arise, if any or all the 18 such venues were to close.
But his Monday remarks in the city’s Legislative Assembly – affirming a clause in an intended revision to Macau’s gaming law amendment bill currently going through the Assembly – did not address the issue of whether a fresh set of investors might be able to relaunch any satellite that had previously closed.
Satellites piggyback on the respective licences of Macau concessionaires, with 14 of the 18 using SJM Holdings Ltd’s licence; three using Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd rights; and one utilising Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd’s licence.
The backer of one – located within the Grand Emperor Hotel and run under SJM Holdings’ licence - has already said it will cease casino business as of June 26. That is the expiry date of the current six Macau concessions, unless they are extended temporarily until December 31, as has been envisaged and requested, as Macau prepares for a new public tender process.
Under the anticipated fresh draft of the gaming law amendment bill, any backer of an existing satellite venue that chose to shut its gaming business for “legal” reasons or due to “concession contract requirement”, would not be allowed to reopen gaming at the same venue.
But Mr Lei noted in his Monday comments to the Legislative Assembly, that the government would not “interfere” in any “commercial decision” made by satellite casino promoters that chose to cease their business.
Though he noted that in such an event, the relevant concessionaire would need to reabsorb to its workforce – or in Mr Lei’s words, “receive… unconditionally” the workers that they had previously sent to work at such a satellite, including casino dealers.
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