Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lei Wai Nong, announced today that the six SAR casino gaming operators would have their concessions extended from the former expiry date of 26 June 2022 to 31 December 2022.
Lei spoke to the media after presenting to the Second Standing Committee of the Legislative Assembly (AL) on Thursday, stating that the government was confident it could complete the gaming law amendment process before 26 June – the former expiration date of the six current concessions – and start the tendering process after that.
“We have notified the gaming operators to prepare for the extension application,” Lei explained.
IAG predicted on Wednesday that the current concessions would be extended by six months.
As previously reported by IAG, the draft gaming bill is currently before the AL which is debating proposed amendments to the gaming law. Today was the first time Secretary Lei and other government representatives have participated in the AL’s Second Standing Committee discussions.
“We still have time, and we will have a couple more meetings with the Second Standing Committee,” he said. Lei will also present to the Second Standing Committee on Friday 4 March.
Lei did not respond when questioned about whether the SAR government would extend the concessions again after December if the legislative and/or re-tendering processes are delayed. IAG interpreted the tone of his words as representing the government’s hope to complete the entire re-tendering process, including determining the winning bidders and signing new concession contracts with those winning bidders, by the end of 2022.
Once the revised gaming bill is passed, a public tender will be held after which a maximum of six concessions will be awarded. It is widely expected – although not certain – that the six current concession holders will each win a new 10-year concession, the maximum period allowed under the draft gaming law currently being considered by the AL.