Featured in this article:
  • Macau's window for casino license applications is now open
  • Big Six casino operators have until December 31 to secure license
  • City tentatively comes out of another Covid-19 lockdown

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The Macau casino license window is now open for 2022

Macau’s government has opened its window for casino license applications, with the Big Six all expected to secure a further 10-year agreement in the territory.

Macau has rewritten its casino and gambling legislation to coincide with the renewal of licenses that were first established back in the early 2000s.

The licenses of its six major operators – Galaxy Entertainment (0027.HK), Melco Resorts, SJM Holdings (0880.HK), Sands China (1928.HK), Wynn Macau (1128.HK), MGM China (2282.HK) – all expire at the end of 2022.

The operators now have between July 29 and December 31 to secure a license to continue accepting wagers and hist gambling games into 2023.

They will need to pay a $5.81m licence renewal fee, accept casino tax at 40% and provide incentives for attracting foreign gamblers.

Indeed, this last stipulation is vital for the success of the license applications. Attracting foreign players is a push by the Chinese authorities to wean Macau’s reliance off Chinese gambling junkets that make up a large proportion of the casinos’ revenues, which then bleed out of the region and back to the United States.

The wording states: “Special consideration should be given to develop foreign tourist markets, experience in operating casino games, investment in gaming and non gaming projects for Macau’s benefit, plans to manage the casino, plans to monitor and prevent illegal activities and social responsibilities.”

Macau Casino License Process

The six casinos, who are all prepared to maintain a presence in Macau despite the reform in gambling laws, will have three months to submit their applications. They must:

  • Detail the amount of the variable part of the proposed premium
  • Explain their plans to attract players from foreign countries
  • Prove their experience in operating games of chance in a casino or related areas
  • Show the benefits availed from investments in gaming and non-gaming related projects
  • Outline a casino management plan
  • Detail steps for supervision and prevention of illicit and illegal activities in their casinos
Macau Covid

Macau’s casinos are coming out of lockdown again after a burst of Covid infection rates

Macau Slowly Open For Business

Meanwhile, the region’s casinos are back open for business following a short Covid-19 lockdown.

Macau went into lockdown midway through June as part of mainland China’s “Zero Covid” policy. A spate of infections, including from a number of workers at the Casino Lisboa, caused residents to stay at home, and casinos to close.

It also meant international travel and tourism was greatly affected.

But two weeks later Macau’s casinos were permitted to reopen as life got back to some sort of normality. They will now operate with 50% staff, must initiate regular disinfection times, and cannot offer indoor dining.

Meanwhile, public places across the city have a 60% capacity restriction, while many movie theatres, bars, nightclubs and shopping malls remain closed.

Joseph Ellison

Joseph is a dedicated journalist and horse racing fanatic who has been writing about sports and casinos for over a decade. He has worked with some of the UK's top bookmakers and provides Premier League soccer tips on a regular basis. You'll likely find him watching horse racing or rugby when he isn't writing about sport.

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