Macao’s six gaming operators – and the seventh outside bidder – will be on tenterhooks over the next few weeks as the Gaming Concession Public Tender Committee weighs up their competing tenders which were unsealed last Friday.
Seven companies submitted bids for the granting of up to six gaming concessions before the public tender’s submission deadline on Wednesday last week. The newcomer is GMM Limited, which is linked to Malaysia’s Genting Group.
The six new concessions, which are slated to start operating on 1 January next year, will run for 10 years.
Currently, Macao’s gaming industry comprises three concessions (SJM Resorts Limited, Galaxy Casino Company Limited, and Wynn Resorts (Macau)) and three sub-concessions (MGM Grand Paradise Limited, Venetian Macau Limited, and Melco Resorts (Macau) Limited). The three concessionaires sold one sub-concession each.
Macao’s new gaming industry law, which was promulgated earlier this year, expressly bans the granting of sub-concessions.
The new gaming law stipulates that the government can grant up to six gaming concessions by public and open tender for 10 years, with a possible extension of up to three years in exceptional circumstances.
Macao’s current three gaming concessions and three sub-concessions will expire on 31 December.
The government set up a nine-member committee in July to oversee the gaming concession tender. The committee includes three of Macao’s five policy secretaries: Secretary for Administration and Justice André Cheong Weng Chon, Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong, and Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Elsie Ao Ieong U. The committee is headed by Cheong.
The committee started to unseal the seven bids at 10 am on Friday, when the committee’s members, a representative from the Public Prosecutions Office, and representatives from the seven bidders attended the session.
The committee completed unsealing all seven bids at 6:40 pm the same day.
After examining and reviewing the seven bids, the committee decided to accept all of the current six gaming operators’ respective bids, while the GMM bid has, however, been “conditionally” accepted.
Nevertheless, the committee did not mention what GMM will need to do in order for its bid to be finally accepted.
The Gaming Concession Public Tender Committee will assess the submitted bids in compliance with the respective laws and regulations as well as the requirements listed in the government’s regulation governing its assessments of bids for future gaming concessions. The assessments will also include discussions and consultations with the accepted bidders.
Speaking on Friday morning, Cheong said that the government did not have a timetable as to when it would complete assessing the accepted bids, but he underlined that the government will complete its process to grant the new gaming concessions by the end of this year.