Genting shakes up Macau licence process with surprise bid

Genting has emerged as a surprise bidder for one of Macau’s six gaming concessions.


The special administrative region opened bidding last month for six new concessions to operate gaming in Macau under its new regulatory structure, after passing a new Gaming Act.

While the structure of the concessions has changed - with sub-concessions removed - the number of operators permitted to do business under the new market would be the same as before.

However, Genting - which does not currently operate in Macau - may throw a spanner into the works with its application, as it could not receive a licence without one exsting operator being shut out.

Genting submitted its application earlier this week (14 September), via its Genting Malaysia (GENM) subsidiary.

The business said it hoped to further diversify geographically, and to play a role in the recovery of Macau.

“This represents an opportunity for GENM to expand its business in the leisure and hospitality sector, diversify its geographical footprint and participate in the recovery prospects of the Macau SAR gaming segment,” the business said.

“GENM will make appropriate announcements once there is more clarity on the company’s position in relation to its bid.”

New rules

Besides the new concession structure, the region’s gaming reforms also included mandatory limits on gaming tables and machines. Operators may only offer up to 6,000 gaming tables and 12,000 machines.

The minimum annual GGR for tables on the other hand will be MOP7m (£739,385/ $868,317/ €866,125), and MOP300,000 for machines. This means that operators that bring in less revenue may find the number of machines they are permitted to operate to be below the overall limit.

Besides this, the reforms also include changes to the tax system, including potential tax cuts for operators that attract international custom.

Slow recovery

Macau as a market has struggled since Covid-19 first struck the region in 2020.

In recent months, these difficulties have been heightened, as Macau - as well as Hong Kong and mainland China, where most Macau gaming customers come from - all introduced strict measures to combat increases in covid-19 cases. This included a full lockdown during July, in which all casinos were forced to close.

As a result of this lockdown, gaming revenue in Macau hit its lowest monthly total since records began during July. Revenue improved from these levels in August, but was still less than a tenth of pre-covid levels.