In Macau and the draft gaming bill currently being scrutinized by lawmakers will reportedly contain a clause that is to ban any entity holding a casino concession or more than 5% of any such firm’s shares from being directly involved with another locally-licensed operator.
According to a report from Inside Asian Gaming, this new restriction was revealed as the legislation, which is officially entitled Amendment to Law Number 16/2001, is with a sub-committee for behind-closed-door discussions on potential alterations or additions. The source explained that this fresh measure is also a change from previous language that would have allowed licensed casino operators and their investors to directly hold up to 5% stakes in any other concessionaires.
Local lawmaker Andrew Chan Chak Mo is reportedly leading the draft gaming bill deliberations and he proclaimed that the new text is similar to an older directive only with the modification that ‘concessionaires as well as their shareholders holding 5% or more of their respective capital stock may not directly hold shares in another concessionaire in their own name.’ However, the legislator purportedly declared that this prohibition is not set to apply to entities that indirectly possess such interests including those retained ‘in the form of a fund’ so long as it does not surpass the 5% threshold.
For its part and GGRAsia reported that this latest update will moreover include language prohibiting casino operators licensed in Macau from listing their shares publicly including with the Hong Kong bourse. This source detail that such an injunction is to be placed on any firms hoping to be granted one of the enclave’s upcoming ten-year concessions at the end of December.
Chan reportedly disclosed that this move should not have any great impact on the current six-strong club of licensed Macau casino operators as these firms are already prohibited from having their shares listed abroad. Companies such as American behemoth Las Vegas Sands Corporation have even established local subsidiaries, which in this case is Sands China Limited, for the purposes of obtaining a local gambling concession.
As for the reasoning behind the new embargo and Chan reportedly told Inside Asian Gaming that the government was attempting to prevent ‘collusion among the concessionaires to enhance their competitiveness’. The legislator furthermore purportedly divulged that the final top-secret meeting to discuss the draft gaming bill is scheduled for Wednesday, after which his group intends to produce an ‘opinion letter’ before submitting this document to the full 33-member Legislative Assembly.
Chan reportedly stated…
“After signing the opinion letter, the Legislative Assembly will come together five working days later to discuss and vote on this law.”