A boss at one of the most prominent Macau “satellite” casino hotels, Ponte 16, has confirmed to GGRAsia that he hopes to see gaming continue at the property beyond December 31 this year.
The comments were by Hoffman Ma Ho Man, deputy chairman and executive director of Success Universe Group Ltd. His Hong Kong-listed company is an investor in – and promoter of – Ponte 16 (pictured), which relies on the gaming rights of local operator SJM Holdings Ltd.
The issue of whether Macau’s satellite sector will continue trading in the future, has been put in some doubt by proposed changes to its regulatory framework, as set out in two law bills currently going through the city’s Legislative Assembly.
They are: the gaming law amendment bill; and a regulatory bill relating to junkets and to elements of satellite operations.
The first bill mentions that entities known as “management companies” would, if running a particular satellite, only be able to earn a fixed “management fee” rather than a share of casino revenue.
Last month, Mr Ma had told GGRAsia that the Macau government should consider accepting a more “reasonable” and flexible earnings model for the city’s satellite casino venues.
Shortly afterwards, the Macau government hinted it might under the proposed update to the city’s gaming framework, permit some kind of performance-related system – linked to “turnover” – between management companies seeking to run a satellite casino, and the concessionaire holding the gaming rights.
On the sidelines of Success Universe’s annual general meeting in Hong Kong on Friday, the executive reiterated that call, in comments to the media there.
He was also quoted on the topic of operations at Ponte 16 extending beyond December 31.
He told GGRAsia: “Yes, this is what I said.”
Currently, the Macau concession of Ponte 16’s gaming partner – SJM Holdings – is due to expire – in line with the other five licensees – on June 26.
But the Macau government invited all of them to apply for a temporary extension of the current permits, to December 31, as the city prepares for a new public tender to cover a 10-year period starting next year.
Mr Ma said in his remarks to the Hong Kong media, he believed that even if in future, the satellite casinos were not allowed to share gaming revenue with their concessionaire partners, the satellites could still have a “secure” stream of income by charging the concessionaires a “venue lease” and management fees.
But he thought that the government should allow a performance-linked element, or “bonus”, to be permitted, within the management fee model.
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