Malaysian billionaire bids for casino license in Macau

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Malaysian billionaire Lim Kok Thay led a late bid for one of Macau’s open casino licenses. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

A strange man

Malaysian billionaire Lim Kok Thay, chairman of Malaysian Genting Group, has been confirmed as a bidder for a casino license in Macau.

raises doubts that all incumbent licensees will return

Thay was the seventh candidate to enter the fold before Wednesday night’s deadline. There are only six license slots up for grabs, leaving it in doubt whether any incumbent licensees will return to the market.

A company called GMM Limited, run by Thay, submitted the offer just hours before the window closed at 5.45pm. local hour. A GMM representative confirmed that the company is aligned with Genting, according to TDM, the Macau public service broadcaster.

Interest in Macau

Apart from the obvious mathematical inequity, industry experts have serious concerns that Thay is stealing a license from an existing operator.

Genting has a ton of financial clout to help push the boundaries of his new project. The company provided no comment on its request.

The six existing licensees – Wynn Macau, Galaxy Entertainment, SJM Holdings, Melco Entertainment and MGM China – all submitted applications ahead of GMM’s shock entry. Wynn was the first to publicly announce his submission just a day before the deadline.

Ben Lee of iGamiX, ​​an Asia-focused gaming industry consultancy, was not surprised by the billionaire’s candidacy.

of all the gaming companies in the world, they are the only truly global gaming operator”

“Genting has always been interested in Macau,” Lee said. “Of all the gaming companies in the world, they are the only truly global gaming operator, with footprints in Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, UK, USA, Bahamas and on the high seas. “

Lee also predicted Genting’s potential dominance in the space, after the company failed to break into the US market.

“If there was one newcomer that any of the existing dealers would fear, it would be Genting, as Genting is the only one with a proven track record in theme park development and management, and willing and able to invest significantly in the non-game,” Lee said.

Rules for candidates

Macau set the bidding rules for the licenses in June. Among other stipulations, applicants were required to present tourism development plans, the benefits of gambling-related and non-Macau-related investments, and the business responsibilities they would establish and adhere to.

The licenses of the six current operators will expire at the end of the year.

The six concessions will run for ten years before the reopening of applications, at which time there may be more places, depending on the state of the market. The licenses of the six current operators will expire at the end of the year.

It’s no surprise that the six current operators have all re-applied for licenses, according to Lee.

“They already have a foot in the game and they already have sunk costs. It would be unprecedented for them to step down now,” Lee said.

It is now up to the government to decide which candidates to select for the licenses. This decision will come by the end of the year, although there is no concrete announcement date.

Earlier this year, officials dramatically raised the stakes for dealers. Each company had to have a minimum capital of 5 billion patacas ($618.9 million), compared to 200 million patacas ($24.8 million). In addition, the managing director had to be a permanent resident of Macau and hold at least 15% of the capital of the operation.

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