The Macau government announced on Friday that it has authorized the requests of Sociedade de Jogos de Macau, S.A. (SJM) and MGM Grand Paradise, S.A (MGM) to extend their concession and sub-concession contracts until 26 June 2022.
In its official release, the government said it considered that bringing the terms of SJM and MGM’s concession contracts into line with the SAR’s other four concessionaires would benefit the preparation and development of the upcoming public tender for the granting of new gaming licenses. The concessions of Galaxy, Wynn, Sands and Melco all expire on 26 June 2022.
Granting of the two-year extension will require SJM and MGM to pay MOP$200 million (US$25 million) each, with the government adding that the payment does not exempt either from any obligations under their current concession.
MGM will also pay SJM a sum of MOP$20 million (US$2.5 million) in connection with the extension of the sub-concession.
Notably, it will likely also bring to an end any further decision-making by the current Macau government given the regime of Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On comes to an end in December.
In a Friday note, Union Gaming analyst Grant Govertsen stated, “We do not believe the current administration, which will be in office until December of this year, is likely to move forward in any meaningful way with respect to the license rebid scenarios.
“Rather, we expect the next administration to be the one that tackles it. The new administration will take office at the end of this year, at which point we would expect a multi-year study to take place (potentially taking a wait-and-see approach to Japan) and thus necessitating concession extensions for all six perhaps well beyond 2022.”
The exact nature of new licensing regulations beyond 2022 has been the source of widespread speculation in recent years, although it is understood that the six current concessionaires will be required to take part in a re-tender process rather than a simple re-licensing.
It has also been suggested that a seventh or even eighth operator could be granted a license, with the likes of Suncity Group tipped as a leading contender.