The government of Macau through the Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai-nong, has recently issued a reminder regarding license renewal to the territory’s casino operators. Licenses for the existing casino operations were set to expire on June 26 but this is, thankfully, not going to be the case.
The Macau gambling regulator’s announcement on the government’s website informed all the gambling companies that they will have six more months to renew their licenses. This set the new expiry for their existing licenses to December 31. Ideally, that should be more than enough time for each of the six casino operators to get their affairs in order.
Wynn Macau, Sands China, MGM China, SJM Holdings, Galaxy Entertainment and Melco Resorts, the six casino operators, have welcomed the decision. Speaking on the announcement, Allan Zeman who is the chairman of Wynn Macau pointed out that the decision to extend the licenses renewal period was good for everyone. He believes the casino operators will have more time to plan accordingly.
Well, the decision was not entirely about giving the casino operators more time to prepare. It was about giving room for the city’s legislature to pass a revised law. The legislatures need to approve one of the biggest reforms to the territory’s gambling laws in 20 years. These reforms are meant to be the foundation of some of the requirements that the operators will have to meet as they apply for license renewal.
One of the things that are worth paying attention to in the city’s proposed gambling laws is the duration of validity of the new licenses. Operators in Macau have always received 20-year licenses. This will now be halved. So, each of them will have to reapply for the licenses in 10 years. The impacts of this decision will take time to manifest but it should be much of an issue for the big brands that have set up shop in Macau.
As it stands, no exact date has been revealed for when the rebidding process will start. With the deadline set to December 31, the stakeholders will need to work hard to ensure everything is up and running by the time the activity begins. Fortunately, no opposition is expected. Many of the city’s operators have expressed their support for the initiative.
Like many other gambling destinations across the globe, Macau’s economy has been hit hard by restrictions and shutdowns over the past couple of years. Its recovery has already started. Hopefully, it will soon be able to return to its pre-pandemic status.