Malaysian billionaire Lim Kok Thay, boss of Genting Group, revealed as final bidder for a prized Macau casino licence
- The entry of Genting into the fray may strike fear into the hearts of existing licence holders vying to keep a foothold, says gaming consultant
- All six current concessionaires, Wynn Macau, Galaxy Entertainment, SJM Holdings, Melco Entertainment and MGM China, have submitted bids
GMM Limited submitted a bid to the Macau government just hours before the tender closed at 5:45pm on Wednesday. According to Macau’s company registry, GMM is represented by Lim Kok Thay.
A representative from GMM confirmed the company is linked to Genting, according to TDM, Macau’s public services broadcaster.
Genting could not immediately be reached for comment.
The addition of GMM means there are seven bids for a maximum of six concessions to be granted under Macau’s revamped tendering process. All six current concessionaires, Wynn Macau, Galaxy Entertainment, SJM Holdings, Melco Entertainment, MGM China and Sands China have submitted their bids, according to the government website.
“Of all the gaming companies in the world, they are the only truly global gaming operator, with footprints in Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, the UK, US, Bahamas and the high seas.
“The only market they missed out on is Macau which also happens to be the world’s largest.
“If there was a newcomer whom any of the existing concessionaires would fear, it would be Genting as Genting is the only one with a successful track record in developing and running theme parks, and willing and able to invest significantly in non-gaming.”
The Macau government published the rules for the retendering of gaming concessions in June. The criteria called on operators to present their detailed plans for developing foreign tourist markets, the benefits brought by gaming and non-gaming investments to Macau, and the corporate social responsibilities they would undertake.
The new concessions are 10-year gaming contracts allowing casinos to operate in Macau from January 1, 2023. The licences of the six current operators expire at the end of the year.
It was not surprising that all six current licence holders had submitted bids for new concessions, said Lee.
“They already have their foot in the game and they already have sunk costs. It would be unprecedented for them to pull out right now,” he said.
The government will review the proposals and negotiate with the bidders on detailed terms and conditions, before announcing the six winners by the end of this year.
Wynn said its licence, if granted, will be held under the name of Wynn Resorts (Macau) S. A.
Melco said it submitted a bid through its subsidiary Melco Resorts (Macau).
“Our proposal reinforces our commitment to Macau and the further diversification of its economy. We look forward to playing a leadership role in partnering with the Macau government to execute on the government’s vision,” said Lawrence Ho Yau-lung, chairman and chief executive officer, in a company statement.
“We are delighted to participate in the tender. We are optimistic about Macau’s future, and we eagerly look forward to continuing to work closely with the Macau government in contributing to the prosperous and sustainable development of Macau,” said Daisy Ho, chairman of SJM Holdings, in a press release.