January 14, 2022
Macau casino operators are set to see their coveted gaming licenses expire in June. Industry analysts at JPMorgan believe the six companies would be smart to include non-gaming investments on nearby Hengqin Island when submitting their applications for fresh concessions.
Macau’s June expiration of the permits that allow Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts, Wynn Resorts, Melco Resorts, Galaxy Entertainment, and SJM Resorts to run their casinos continues to cast uncertainty across the industry. Though all six are strong favorites to receive fresh tenders, the companies would certainly prefer to obtain their new operating permits sooner rather than later.
JPMorgan’s DS Kim, Amanda Cheng, and Livy Lyu write in a note this week that the six casino giants will only improve their relicensing odds by announcing Hengqin commitments.
Their insight opines that if the casinos voluntarily include “certain budgets for non-gaming projects in Macau and/or Hengqin,” they will appease a major 2022 goal of Macau’s government to diversify the economy.
Macau is an isolated Special Administrative Region (SAR) in China, one of only two, along with Hong Kong. Macau’s relatively small area of less than 45 square miles has hampered non-gaming development in the enclave, as the multibillion-dollar integrated resorts have claimed most of the prime real estate.
Macau, long in search of reducing its economic reliance on casino gambling, believes it has found a solution with neighboring Hengqin Island. Part of Zhuhai and the Guangdong Province, People’s Republic officials in Beijing have encouraged Macau to expand its resort operations to the more vacant Hengqin region.