Nov 26 (Reuters) - Macau's government said on Saturday
its six incumbent casino operators would be given new licences
to operate in the world's biggest gambling hub from January,
with Malaysian operator Genting missing out on a spot.
The highly anticipated announcement signals stability and
continuity for the Macau operators who have invested more than
$50 billion in the Chinese special administrative region in the
past 20 years.
Officials in Macau, the world's biggest casino hub, told a
news briefing the main considerations for granting licences
included ensuring local employment, developing overseas tourist
markets and developing non-gaming projects.
Genting Malaysia had been considered a credible
threat for a Macau licence due to its strong non-gaming track
record and mass market appeal, fitting key criteria for Beijing
which is adamant that Macau diversify away from gambling and
attract foreign tourists.
The company did not immediately respond for an email request
If any incumbents had lost, they would have had to return
the casino area to the government for free at the end of this
year, making it financially unviable to operate the remaining
facilities as gambling accounts for 80% to 90% of total revenue.
Sands China, Wynn Macau, Galaxy
Entertainment, MGM China, Melco Resorts
and SJM Holdings, have operated in
the Chinese special administrative region since 2002. Their
concessions expire at the end of this year.
"We are committed to Macau and its development as Asia's
premier tourist destination," Lawrence Ho, chairman and chief
executive of Melco, said in a statement.
(Reporting by Twinnie Siu and Donny Kwok in Hong Kong; Writing
by Farah Master; Editing by Edmund Klamann and William Mallard)