Following the announcement that the Government of the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) had approved the extension of the licences of the city's six existing gaming operators until December 31, the executive council published on Tuesday draught rules for the retendering of casino licences prior to their expiration at the end of the year.
The guidelines comprised information regarding the bidding process for gaming concessions, the eligibility of the firms competing, and the basis for awarding them. According to Reuters, the government would pay special attention to operators' intentions to increase international tourism markets, the advantages provided to Macau by gaming and non-gaming enterprises, and social obligations.
Other criteria for the tender process listed in the rules include experience operating games of chance in casinos or related areas; the region's interest in investments in gaming and non-gaming projects; the venue management plan; and the proposed supervision and prevention of illegal activities at the properties.
The tender's general requirements were published in the city's Official Gazette. According to Administrative Regulation No. 28/2022, at least eight bidders must participate in the auction. The regulation requires at least two more bidders than the number of concessions up for offer, and if that number is not satisfied, the government may invite other corporations to submit bids.
The measures were enacted after the government modified Macau's gaming legislation last month, marking the most significant legislative improvements for the sector in the past two decades. The new measure will update legislation in effect since 2001 and would boost SAR authorities' monitoring of the city's gambling industry.
Under the new law, the number of new licences is restricted to six, and the duration of the new licences will be reduced from twenty to ten years. Macau regulators have the authority to penalise casino operators for a variety of offences, including revenue underperformance and threats to national security.
In addition, gaming taxes have been increased from 39 percent to 40 percent, comprising 35 percent in direct gaming taxes and a flat 5 percent tax for social welfare and urban development, an increase of 1 percent. As reported by Macau Business, the 5 percent indirect tax might be cut if operators are able to recruit more foreign players to their casinos.
On December 31, the casino licences of Wynn Macau, Sands China, MGM China, Galaxy Entertainment, SJM Holdings, and Melco Resorts will expire. Macau is the only location in China where casinos are permitted.
By fLEXI tEAM