Macau chief defends sub-licences but says more unlikely Macau Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau-wah yesterday described competition in the city's casino industry as normal and inevitable. He also defended the government's position to allow the three licences granted in 2002 to effectively double, while suggesting there would be no more sub-licences. Mr Ho made the remarks at Macau airport before flying to Xiamen for an economic forum. 'We must come to terms with the fact that competition in the gaming market is inevitable,' Mr Ho said. 'It would be abnormal for the government to intervene with rules restricting competition.' He said competition between gaming operators was far from vicious. 'Everyone in the sector still enjoys sizeable profits,' Mr Ho said. 'We haven't come to a point where someone is losing money.' It would still be normal if one or two companies started losing money when all six licensees had opened their casinos. Mr Ho also suggested the recent war of words between casino magnates was hard to avoid. 'In the casino industry, we have some leading roles with strong characters,' he said. 'They get angry sometimes.' Only three casino licences were granted when Macau ended its gaming monopoly in 2002, but three sub-concessions have since been made in a grey area of gaming regulation, effectively doubling the number of operators. In the latest sub-concession, Wynn Resorts Macau offered a secondary licence to Macau-Australian joint venture Melco PBL Entertainment for US$900 million in March. Mr Ho said three licences were too few and that having six operators would better serve Macau's interest. 'Relatively speaking, having six operators should not cause any vicious competition,' he said. 'We are optimistic about it. I see the six companies are all very capable.' But Mr Ho said it was unlikely the government would allow any sub-concession of gaming licences in the future. 'I don't see the chance that we will have new licences. We allow open competition but will not issue several dozen licences like Las Vegas,' he said. Last month, gaming mogul Stanley Ho Hung-sun complained about what he saw as 'vicious competition' in the gaming market. He said one third of his Sociedade de Jogos de Macau's VIP gaming halls faced bankruptcy, putting thousands of jobs at risk. Yesterday, thousands of visitors went to Wynn Resorts, Macau's first full-scale Las-Vegas-style resort, on its first full day of operation, as competitors stepped up marketing campaigns. Four major gaming companies yesterday placed full-page advertisements in the Macau Daily News, leaving two stories in an eight-page news section of the city's largest newspaper. Stanley Ho's gaming firm used the front page to promote free meals and gaming chip discounts. Numbers at his Casino Lisboa showed no signs of dropping.