Most satellite casinos expected to continue operating after gaming law changes – CE

Despite the gaming law changes most satellite casinos are expected o continue operating, Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng noted today (Monday), TDM Radio reported.

Speaking to the media after the opening ceremony of the Sac Pai Van Health Centre, Ho Iat Seng that he has been in communication with the sector, adding that the number of satellite casinos expected to close would not greatly impact the SARs unemployment rate.

A new version of the general gaming law presented by the Macau SAR government allows for satellite casinos to continue operating even if the property where they are located is not completely owned by a gaming concessionaire, a turnaround from the previous stance that could see these casinos closed if the situation was not resolved in a three-year transitional period after the new law was is enforced.

The previous draft wording had led several industry insiders to warn that multiple satellite casinos in the city could be closed and increase the local unemployment levels.

Still, under the new regulations, these managing entities will only be able to charge managing expenses and will not be allowed to share a percentage or commission of gaming revenues.

Seven satellite casinos were previously reported to be planning to stop operations by the end of June, while Emperor Entertainment Hotel Limited has already announced last month that its casino located in its Grand Emperor Hotel will cease operations.

The Million Dragon Hotel – part of Chan Meng Kam’s Golden Dragon Group – has already sent layoff letters to some of its employees, with dismissed employees suspected to be local residents and marketing staff.

The number of non-resident workers employed by all six gaming operators in the Macau SAR by the end of 2021 was 32 per cent lower when compared to the 23,676 non-residents employed before the pandemic outbreak, according to the Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL).

In his comments today, the CE also noted that the government estimates of MOP130 billion (US$16 billion) in gross gaming revenue for 2022 – on which government budget projections were based – would be revised.

The local administration had repeated the MOP130 billion set last year, expecting some MOP45.5 billion in gaming taxes.

However, so far the first four months of the year have reported a 36 per cent year-on-year drop in gaming results, mounting to MOP20.4 billion.