Stark reaction to proposed future Macau casino regulations

Casino News

The value of shares in some of Macau’s largest casino operators was reportedly rocked yesterday after the local government released its latest proposals for how it believes the industry should be regulated into the future.

According to a report from Inside Asian Gaming, the draft proposals include a provision that would abolish the sub-concession system that currently sees Sands China Limited, MGM China Holdings Limited and Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited operate Macau casinos under full franchises granted to compatriots Galaxy Entertainment Group Limited, SJM Holdings Limited and Wynn Macau Limited respectively.

Ticking clock:

Macau is currently home to an estate of 41 large casinos that encompass the iconic Casino Grand Lisboa venue run by SJM Holdings Limited as well as the 2,700-room The Parisian Macao property from the Sands China Limited subsidiary of American behemoth Las Vegas Sands Corporation. All of these enterprises are reportedly due to see their existing 20-year licenses expire next June although the local government has the ability to grant temporary ad-hoc extensions of up to five years.

Direct discussion:

In advance of this deadline and the source reported that Macau is eager to amend its existing raft of regulations so as to create a safer, more diversified and increasingly profitable sector. The draft regulations, which were released yesterday by the enclave’s Economy and Finance Secretary, Lei Wai Nong (pictured), are to now purportedly undergo a six-week public consultation that is set to end on October 29.

Increased involvement:

Inside Asian Gaming reported that another proposed change would allow the local government to examine casino employees and those working for affiliated partners such as junket firms. Lei purportedly disclosed that this measure would assist the local Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau regulator in strengthening its oversight so as to make sure the sector features no undesirable elements.

Further feelers:

Another proposition could reportedly furthermore see Macau’s club of licensed casino operators compelled to host government regulators that would supervise operations in order to make sure all of the new rules were being followed. This may well purportedly be joined by an obligation for such companies to increase their local directorship rates beyond the current 10% threshold and run any ensuing dividend payments past the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.

Iced iGaming:

Lei reportedly used an official filing to completely squash rumors that online gaming could be coming to Macau as a result of the new regulations while suggesting that the city’s current 20-year casino license terms may be reduced alongside the maximum number of recipients.

Reportedly read the filing from Lei…

“Gaming tax should be considered very cautiously as it is relates to Macau’s financial income, economic development and social welfare. The government has no specific prerequisite on the number of gaming licenses although it needs to maintain a certain scale to ensure tax revenues. But, the number of gaming concessions should not expand without limitation.”

Investor unease:

As a result of the publication of these proposed rule changes and GGRAsia used its own report on the matter to divulge that the value of individual shares in Sands China Limited slumped by 32.5% yesterday to approximately $2.20. Fellow Hong Kong-listed operator Wynn Macau Limited purportedly experienced a 29% slide to $0.87 with stocks in SJM Holdings Limited being worth 24% less at just $0.77.

Of the remaining three Macau casino operators and this source asserted that shares in MGM China Holdings Limited took a 26.8% hit yesterday to be worth $0.84 at the close of play while Galaxy Entertainment Group Limited and Nasdaq-listed Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited experienced similarly-concerning 20% and 5.9% drops respectively.

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