In comments to the media this afternoon, President of the Second Standing Committee of the Macau Legislative Assembly (AL), Andrew Chan Chak Mo, revealed the bill currently before the AL to amend the Macau gaming law has been changed – now allowing existing satellite casinos to continue to operate in premises not owned by a Macau casino gaming concessionaire, even beyond the already-agreed three-year grace period.
However, once the grace period lapses, satellite operators will no longer be allowed to participate in revenue share arrangements with concessionaires. There is still some confusion over whether revenue share arrangements will be permitted during the three-year grace period. While a strict interpretation of the latest publicly available version of the bill would suggest otherwise, this afternoon in response to a question from IAG, Chan said, “that is a matter to be determined by the terms of the contract between the concessionaire and the management company [satellite operator]”. It may well be that the new version of the bill differs from the most-current publicly available version of the bill, and allows revenue sharing between concessionaires and satellite operators during the three-year grace period.
Chan was speaking after a meeting this afternoon between the the Second Standing Committee of the Macau Legislative Assembly (AL) and various representatives of the Macau government, including the Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong and the Director of the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, Adriano Ho.
The new bill, which was discussed by the Second Standing Committee of the Macau Legislative Assembly today, is not yet publicly available. IAG believes the bill should be available by 10 June at the latest as this date was mentioned by Chan at today’s press briefing as his target date for completion of all Second Standing Committee discussion on the bill before it is sent to the full Legislative Assembly for debate.
One of the more controversial aspects of the new Macau Gaming Law currently under consideration by the AL, article 5.3 of the bill had stated, “A concessionaire must operate games of chance in casinos in a location where it holds ownership of the real estate … ” This new provision had been widely interpreted as a satellite-killer, although the three-year grace period was also written into the bill as a transitional arrangement for existing satellites — assuming their partner concessionaire is awarded a new concession in the upcoming tender process, widely expected to take place in Q3 this year.