Melco Resorts & Entertainment has acknowledged increased risks to its business operations in Macau from recent legal action surrounding Macau’s VIP segment.
The warning formed part of Melco Resorts Finance Ltd’s 3Q21 results announcement on Tuesday and pointed to the weekend arrest of Suncity Group CEO Alvin Chau as well as a recent court ruling that found Wynn Macau Ltd jointly liable with another junket operator, Dore Entertainment, for money stolen from a Dore VIP room in 2015.
In a section outlining recent developments, Melco Resorts Finance, the Melco subsidiary that operates its Macau resorts, stated, “Gaming is a highly regulated industry in Macau and is subject to various laws and regulations. These laws and regulations are complex and there are limited precedents on the interpretation and enforcement of these laws and regulations. Changes in laws and regulations, and the interpretation and enforcement of such laws and regulations, may result in increased risks for operations on our properties.
“For example, in November 2021, the Court of Final Appeal in Macau issued a final unappealable decision that a gaming operator is jointly liable with a gaming promoter for the refund of funds deposited with such gaming promoter at a casino and the Macau authorities arrested executives from a gaming promoter for alleged illegal overseas gaming related activities.”
As reported by Inside Asian Gaming, Suncity closed all of its Macau VIP rooms overnight, including those located at Melco’s City of Dreams and Studio City.
Melco has, however, already been converting much of its former VIP space to premium mass including moving all VIP operations out of its original Macau casino, Altira Macau, in July.
Melco Resorts Finance reported a net loss of US$139.9 million for the September quarter, narrowed from a loss of US$203.4 million over the same period last year
Net loss for the third quarter of 2021 was US$139.9 million, compared to net loss of US$203.4 million for the third quarter of 2020 but slightly higher than the USS$108.9 million loss reported in Q2. Operating revenues were 127.8% higher year-on-year at US$378.8 million.
The results do not include Melco’s international operations in Manila and Cyprus.