SJM’s So: Don’t License More Casinos in Macau

Ambrose So (l.), CEO of leading Macau casino operator SJM Holdings, says more casino licenses in Macau would be superfluous and counterproductive. The industry has lost a reported $75 billion in value since a crackdown on corruption by President Xi Jinping.

Macau is in “adjustment period,” will see growth this year

One of Macau’s leading casino operators says the gaming destination doesn’t need any more casino licensees.

Speaking at a Chinese New Year dinner hosted by SJM Holdings, the company’s chief executive officer, Ambrose So Shu Fai told attendees that new casino licenses won’t add to Macau’s gaming industry, which has seen declining revenues since a government crackdown on corruption and money laundering that started last June.

In February, David Chow Kam Fai, co-chairman and CEO of Macau Legend Development Ltd., said he supports licenses for new investors, especially local companies. Macau Legend operates two casinos in Macau under the gaming license of SJM Holdings, reported GGRAsia.

In January, Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong Vai Tac said the government would conduct a “mid-term review” of the gaming industry this year, and conduct renewal talks with the six existing concessionaires through 2016. The current licenses expire in 2020 and 2022.

So said he is “not worried” about the ongoing slump in Macau, which saw gaming revenue fall 2.6 percent in 2014, the region’s first-ever annual decline. He believes the market is experiencing a temporary “adjustment period” and adds that a rebound could begin in the second half of 2015.

Meanwhile, the government announced that it has removed 2,000 illegal gambling advertisements during the first six weeks of 2015. According to the Macao Daily, the ads, most of which promote online gambling, were displayed on walls, taxis, and buses throughout Macau.