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Top gaming hub Macau will start taking bids for casino licences on July 29

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English -  The government of Macau announced on Thursday that international gaming companies can submit bids for ne...


Image: Reuters

Berita 24 English -  The government of Macau announced on Thursday that international gaming companies can submit bids for new licences from July 29 to September 14. This is the start of a long-awaited process to get a spot in the world's biggest casino hub.

The licences of the six current operators, Sands China, Wynn Macau, MGM China, Galaxy Entertainment, SJM Holdings, and Melco Resorts, will run out at the end of the year.

If they want to keep doing business in the Chinese special administrative region, they have to compete for new licences with new companies that also want to do business there.

The rebidding is happening during Macau's worst COVID-19 outbreak, which caused casinos to close for 12 days in July. They have since reopened so that staff can go back to work, but there is no business because restrictions are only being lifted slowly.

In a statement on its website, the government said that companies must put up a guarantee of at least 10 million patacas ($1.24 million) and submit the necessary qualification documents.

When bidding, "special consideration should be given to developing foreign tourist markets, having experience running casino games, investing in gaming and non-gaming projects for Macau's benefit, plans to manage the casino, plans to monitor and stop illegal activities, and social responsibilities."

The government of Macau put together a committee to look into the applicants for the new licences. A decision is expected in the fourth quarter.

If the current operators don't get new contracts, which are set to start in 2023, they won't be able to run the casinos on which their businesses depend and in which they have spent billions over the past 20 years.

Even though other places to gamble around the world are starting to get busy again, Macau's COVID-19 curbs spend about $600 million every month. Analysts say that the casinos won't make much or any money for months.

Since the start of the pandemic, the sector has been struggling. In 2019, it made $36 billion, but in 2021, it will only make $10.8 billion.

But the possibility of not being able to run in the future is scarier than what casinos hope is a short-term shortage of cash.

($1 = 8.0850 patacas)


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