David Chow Kam Fai, co-chairman and chief executive of casino services firm Macau Legend Development Ltd, on Wednesday urged the Macau government to open the gaming market to new investors. Mr Chow said that the review of the casino concessions ahead of the renewal process should lead to more gaming licences for local companies.
Mr Chow (pictured), a former Macau legislator, spoke to reporters on the sidelines of the official opening of his company’s 444-room Harbourview Hotel, part of a waterside development on Macau peninsula called Macau Fisherman’s Wharf. The Harbourview Hotel had a soft opening on February 2.
“The government should encourage the development of local businesses and allow companies that have contributed to the development of Macau, such as those operating satellite casinos, to receive a gaming licence,” Mr Chow was quoted saying by local media. He was referring to companies that currently use the gaming licence of one of the existing six concessionaires to operate casinos.
The city’s government has mentioned the years 2015 and 2016 as starting points for discussion on the renewal of the six existing gaming concessions. Their current permissions expire in 2020 and 2022. In January, Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong Vai Tac said the government would conduct a “mid-term review” of the gaming industry this year.
Macau Legend operates two casinos in Macau under the gaming licence of SJM Holdings Ltd: Babylon Casino at Macau Fisherman’s Wharf; and Pharaoh’s Palace Casino at the Landmark Hotel, also on Macau peninsula.
The firm said in its third quarter report issued in October, that as of September 30 it had a total of 150 gaming tables in its two casinos. The company has meanwhile added 35 gaming tables to its Babylon Casino, which is connected by bridge to the Harbourview Hotel.
According to Macau media, Mr Chow said satellite casinos have to pay 3 percent to 5 percent of their revenue to the gaming concessionaire under which they operate. “If they [operators of satellite casinos] get a [gaming] licence, it would help develop and foster fair competition,” he was quoted saying.
“I think they [the government] have to understand that there needs to be more competition, instead of protecting the current six operators,” Mr Chow reportedly said, adding that he believes his company would fulfil the conditions to be granted a licence.
A report last month by Hong Kong-based consulting company Steve Vickers Associates, said the Macau government might be minded to endorse a new local entity as a gaming concessionaire, possibly to provide competition to the existing six operators.
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Analyst at Roth Capital Partners