Macao awards casino licenses to MGM, Sands, Wynn, 3 others


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BEIJING (AP) — Macao has tentatively renewed the on line casino licenses of MGM Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts and three Chinese language rivals after they promised to assist diversify its financial system by investing in non-gambling points of interest, the federal government stated Saturday.

The announcement is optimistic information for house owners who’ve invested billions of {dollars} to construct the previous Portuguese colony close to Hong Kong into the largest international playing middle. However the requirement to spend on theme parks, music and sports activities provides to monetary strain at a time when income has plunged beneath anti-virus restrictions.

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Regulators will negotiate last phrases earlier than licenses take impact Jan. 1, the workplace of Chief Government Ho Iat Seng introduced. A seventh bidder, newcomer Genting Group of Malaysia, obtained no license.

The territory of 700,000 individuals on a peninsula within the South China Sea is the world’s most tourism-dependent financial system. It’s beneath strain from Chinese language President Xi Jinping’s authorities to diversify with retailing, leisure and different industries and to scale back reliance on gamblers from the mainland, its primary income supply.

License candidates promised to meet necessities together with “exploring abroad buyer markets and growing non-gaming initiatives,” a authorities assertion stated.

It gave no particulars, however TDM Radio Macau reported earlier the winners can be anticipated to take a position a complete of $12.5 billion.

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Macao’s financial system has shrunk since anti-virus restrictions that shut down most vacationer journey have been imposed in 2020.

The Chinese language operators embrace SJM Holdings, a part of the empire of the late Stanley Ho, who had a four-decade monopoly on casinos till 2001.

The others are Melco Worldwide, run by Ho’s son Lawrence, and Galaxy Leisure Group.

The choice to permit in foreign-owned casinos in 2002 introduced a flood of cash to Macao. The six license holders function a complete of 41 casinos.

Annual income from slot machines, cube tables and different video games peaked at $45 billion in 2013, greater than triple Las Vegas’ degree. But it surely slid after Beijing tightened controls on how typically mainland gamblers might go to.

By 2019, earlier than the pandemic, playing income sank 19% from 2013′s degree to $36.4 billion. In 2020, it collapsed 80% to simply $7.6 billion. Final yr, income climbed again to $10.8 billion, however that’s down 75% from 2013.

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Within the newest quarter, the financial system shrank by one other one-third from final yr’s depressed degree resulting from anti-virus controls imposed after outbreaks in June, based on the federal government. It stated playing income plunged 72.5% and vacationer arrivals shrank 50.8%.

Including non-gambling property would make Macao extra like Las Vegas. Casinos there attempt to entice households and non-gamblers with curler coasters, music, purchasing facilities, artwork displays and water parks.

SJM operates a zipper line and indoor skydiving points of interest. It dropped a proposal for a Hey Kitty theme park. The tycoon behind Galaxy talked a couple of potential theme park resembling the film “Avatar,” nevertheless it by no means went forward.



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