Pansy Ho Chiu King, co-chairperson and executive director of Macau casino operator MGM China Holdings Ltd, told local media on Wednesday that she hoped the Macau government could consider extending the firm’s current gaming concession licence.
This was so MGM China could be on the “same time line” – for negotiations with the local authorities – as four other Macau gaming operators due to see their current licences expire in 2022.
Speaking on the sidelines of a public event, Ms Ho added that her suggestion chimed with that of fellow Macau operator SJM Holdings Ltd, which like MGM China, also sees its current rights lapse in 2020.
In June, Ambrose So Shu Fai, chief executive of SJM Holdings, said his firm’s intention was to seek a two-year extension for its Macau gaming concession prior to its scheduled expiry in 2020, so that it could compete for fresh Macau gaming rights alongside the four gaming operators due to see licence expiry in 2022.
MGM China’s Macau gaming permit stems from a sub-concession spun off from the rights of SJM Holdings.
Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong Vai Tac mentioned in a Legislative Assembly session on Monday that the government would be “inclined to conduct an open tender” to decide gaming rights in the city after the current six gaming concession contracts reach the end of their legally-permissible existence. The current legal framework for gaming envisages the possibility of the existing contracts being extended for a maximum of up to five years.
When asked to comment on Mr Leong’s remarks regarding a possible open tender for future rights, Ms Ho said the model to be applied – and the rules of allocating Macau’s gaming rights – were subjects that could be further explored soon.
“I believe in the coming two to three years, that [the model and rules of granting gaming rights] can be further discussed and analysed for mulling what is better for the sustainable development of Macau,” said Ms Ho.
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