The Legislative Assembly (AL) of Macau has urged the government to submit the amendment draft of Macau’s gaming law as soon as possible in order to ensure enough time to hold detailed discussions over the matter.
The AL’s Monitoring Commission for Land Issues and Public Concessions held a meeting over the weekend to discuss the agenda of the last session of the 6th term of the AL.
The President of the Commission, legislator Lei Cheng I, told media afterwards that legislators wanted the government to explain its plans for amendments to the gaming law given there is now only a year and a half before the current licenses of all six concessionaires expire in June 2022.
“The gaming industry is the most vital source of our economy and relates to a large number of employees,” the legislator said.
“The influence and impact is great and wide. The current gaming concessions will end by 2022, so we want to know the planning for the amendment of gaming licenses.”
The government has so far refrained from releasing any details on proposed amendments to Macau’s gaming law or on the process for re-tendering, with Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng stating in August that no discussion on the re-tendering of gaming licenses would take place while the government was focused on facilitating and stabilizing Macau’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
There have been suggestions from some industry commentators that re-tendering should be delayed in order to allow Macau more time to focus on its revovery, pointing to a provision in Macau’s gaming law that allows current license to be extended for up to five years. The licenses of Sociedade de Jogos de Macau, S.A. (SJM) and MGM Grand Paradise, S.A (MGM) were last year extended by almost two years until 26 June 2022 to bring them in line with the other four concessions.
However, Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong has since stated that the government has no intention of postponing the re-tendering process, explaining that amendments to Macau’s gaming law were scheduled to take place in 2021.
The 6th term of Macau AL will end next summer and AL members will be re-elected around September of 2021, suggesting that any amendment to the gaming law would need to be passed inside the next 11 months to avoid a delay in re-tendering.