Ho: Six Is Enough in Macau

Lawrence Ho (l.), chairman and CEO of Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd., says Macau’s gaming market is currently right-sized with six casino concessionaires. The current concessions will expire starting in 2020.

Ho: Six Is Enough in Macau

Local operators want to have a go

Macau casino concessionaire Lawrence Ho, chairman and CEO of Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd., says there is no need for more than six licensees in the market after the current concessions expire in 2020 and 2022.

“At the end of the day, the six concessionaires have done quite a lot over the last 15 years,” Ho said, adding that he is “confident” his firm will have its license renewed in 2022 because it has always gone for a diversified product offering, even before the local and federal governments demanded more non-gaming amenities.

“Melco has always done, from a diversification or a non-gaming standpoint, more than most of our competitors. We listened to the Macau government 10 years ago in terms of what they wanted. We want to continue to be good partners.”

According to GGRAsia, some casino operators whose sub-concessions piggyback on one of the existing permit holders say the government should allow local firms to bid too.

Former legislator Chan Meng Kam—who also is chairman of privately held Golden Dragon Co., which runs three casinos in Macau—pointed out that a new public tender process should occur when the current casino rights expire, meaning local businesspeople can have an impact on the decision. Chan is currently a member of the Executive Council, the Macau government’s advisory body.

David Chow, co-chairman and CEO of Hong Kong-listed Macau Legend Development, also wants the opportunity to bid, and has said he would “fight” to get a license in the world’s most profitable gaming hub. Macau Legend runs three casinos in Macau under the license of SJM Holdings.

And Hoffman Ma Ho Man, executive director and deputy chairman of Success Universe Group Ltd., told GGRAsia Macau should end the government concession system for gaming and move to licensing by venue. Success Universe is an investor in the Ponte 16 casino hotel on Macau peninsula, and also operates under the SJM license.

The Macau government has commissioned two studies on the city’s gaming sector in the period between 2020 and 2030 and will determine if the market would benefit by the addition of new gaming licenses.