The Hong Kong-Macau government is set to start 455 days of public gaming consulting from next Wednesday as it seeks to understand public opinion before re-debiting after a closer look at its multi-billion dollar casinos next year.
Lei Wai Nong, secretary of economics and finance at the world’s largest gambling hub, said the government would further promote the “sustainable and healthy development” of Macau’s gambling industry as there are still some shortcomings in industry oversight.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, Leigh detailed nine areas for consultation, including the number of licenses, increasing regulation and protecting the welfare of employees, as well as introducing government representatives to oversee the day-to-day operations of casinos.
Macau, a special administrative region of China, has tightened casino verification in recent years, with authorities blocking illegal capital flows from mainland China and targeting underground nding and illegal cash transfers.
Beijing has intensified its fight against border flows for gambling, which has affected the financing channels of Macau’s jacket operators and their VIP casino customers.
In June of this year, Macau doubled the number of gaming inspectors and reorganized many departments for supervision.
Macau casino operators Sands China, Win Macau, Galaxy Entertainment, SJM Holdings, Melco Entertainment and MGM China will have to read their casino licenses when they expire in June 2022.
DS Kim, an analyst at JP Morgan in Hong Kong, said all Macau gaming names are being downgraded from “overweight” to “neutral” or “underweight” after the briefing due to higher scrutiny of capital management and day-to-day operations before license renewal. .
“We acknowledge that this is only a ‘directional’ signal, although the level of actual control / implementation remains a key issue,” he said.
George Choi, an analyst at Citigroup in Hong Kong, said that although the public consultation document provided limited details, the proposed amendments boosted long-term sustainable growth for the industry, with a “positive impact on six casino operators”.
He warned, however, that “we will not be surprised if the market focuses only on potential negative effects due to the weak attitude of investors.”
Shares have plummeted with Macau operating at U.S. casinos, with Las Vegas Sands and Win Resorts down more than 12% due to stricter regulatory concerns.