David Chow urges more gaming licences from Macau govt


The co-chairman and chief executive of Hong Kong-listed casino services firm Macau Legend Development Ltd says Macau can accommodate two to three more gaming concessionaires. There are currently six casino operators in the Macau market. The public concessions of the existing operators are set to expire either in 2020 or 2022.

“The market requires competition to progress. If the situation remains the same, where [gaming concessionaires] maintain their way of operation, any growth will only go to them [existing operators],” said Macau Legend’s David Chow Kam Fai (pictured in file photo).

“If the market is big enough, there is no problem for Macau to have two or even three more [casino licences],” Mr Chow told reporters on Thursday in Beijing. He was attending the annual meeting of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, an advisory body to the Chinese central government.

“I believe Macau people should have more opportunities to take part [in the gaming industry]. I am not pressuring the government, but I think the opportunities should be provided,” he added.

Mr Chow stated: “Currently, the majority of the market share of the gaming industry [in Macau] is controlled by non-local companies… Who do you think are the real beneficiaries? Are there chances for local people [to become a casino operator in Macau]?”

The Macau Legend CEO said additionally that if new gaming licences were to be issued, the company would “fight for it”.

Mr Chow had said previously that the Macau government should encourage the development of local businesses, including granting gaming licences to some of the companies currently operating satellite casinos.

Satellite casinos are venues that rely on the gaming permit of one of the city’s six licensed operators but are managed by a third party.

Most of the existing Macau satellite venues piggyback on SJM Holdings Ltd’s licence, although Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd – at Casino Waldo, Rio Casino and Casino President – and Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd – at Casino Taipa Square – also share their respective licences with third-party hotel owners. According to the latest available information from the Macau casino regulator Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, SJM Holdings currently provides gaming rights to 16 active satellite casinos.

Hoffman Ma Ho Man, executive director and deputy chairman of Success Universe Group Ltd, told GGRAsia that Macau local investors would benefit from effectively ending the existing government’s gaming concession system and moving to licensing by venue.

Success Universe is an investor in the Ponte 16 casino hotel. The hotel’s casino is currently operated under the gaming concession of SJM Holdings.

The Macau government has commissioned two studies on the possible development of the city’s gaming sector in the period between 2020 and 2030. The studies would also look into how many gaming licences should be issued once the concessions of the six current Macau operators expire.