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SJM and MGM likely to receive initial two-year license renewal: Govertsen

Thursday, 18 May 2017 22:12
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By Ben Blaschke

Macau concessionaires, SJM and MGM, will likely be granted a two-year extension on their gaming licenses in 2020 to bring them in line with their counterparts, according to Union Gaming’s Grant Govertsen.

In a Thursday release following an earlier keynote address by DICJ Director Paulo Martins Chan at this week’s G2E Asia exhibition and conference at the Venetian Macao, Govertsen said, “The first two licenses (SJM and MGM) are set to expire in early 2020 and we think the government will most likely extend these licenses for two years to bring them to parity with the other four licenses. With this in mind all six licenses would then expire in 2022.

“The government also has the option – at its own discretion – to extend the licenses by one year at a time for up to five times; this is without the need for new legislation.

“We would not be surprised if it is the next government of Macau (current Chief Executive term expires December 2019) that finalizes the renewal process, which could very well include unilaterally extending the licenses by a year or two while the legislature redrafts the gaming law post 2020.”

Govertsen’s comments followed reports on Thursday by Chinese media suggesting Mr Chan had implied Macau’s gaming concessionaires would have to rebid for their licenses through a public tender process.

In fact, no such revelations were made with Mr Chan stating at the time that there were no new developments to report in the license renewal process.

“We note that the concept of the Big 6 operators having to apply for renewal has always been built into the system as the licenses simply don't renew automatically after the end of 20 years,” Govertsen said. “There has always been a bureaucratic mechanism built-in whereby the Big 6 need to reapply for their licenses. In no way was the government suggesting anything other than what’s already been known for years.

“Simply put there is no upcoming public tender process for the Macau gaming licenses as the government is still studying the renewal process and has yet to come to any conclusions on how to best go about renewals at this point.”

Delivering his address on Wednesday, Mr Chan told an audience that, “We will continue to monitor closely the ongoing operations of the different gaming operators and any changes to the external gaming environment.

“We are committed to promoting integrity and quality in gaming but also strengthening our regulatory oversight of the industry.

“By supporting more infrastructure which includes hotels, theme parks and shopping malls, Macau is positioned to attract a wider range of tourists.”

 

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