Macau Casinos Bidders Set To Invest $12B+ Over The Next 10 Years; Sands And Galaxy Promise $2.4B Each

Macau Casinos Bidders Set To Invest $12B+ Over The Next 10 Years; Sands And Galaxy Promise $2.4B Each

According to local reports, Macau casino operators vying for a license in the gambling hub are expected to invest a total of around 100 billion patacas ($12.4 billion) over the next 10 years. The seven applicants for the 10-year six available concessions include the city’s six current operators –Wynn Macau, Sands China, MGM China, SJM Holdings, Galaxy Entertainment and Melco Resorts– and a seventh company, GMM Limited, part of the Genting Group.

Galaxy Entertainment and Sands China may invest more than 20 billion patacas ($2.4 billion) each if they retain their concessions, while the other five companies committed to investing about 15 billion patacas each, taking the combined total for the six winners to 100 billion patacas, as reported by TDM.

“The reported investment commitment of US$1.9 billion to US$2.5 billion per operator – is very reasonable,” said JP Morgan analyst DS Kim in a report released on Monday. “The amount is only about a third of the US$35 billion that the six operators have invested over the past 10 years, but suggests one big renovation or development project plus some flagship events or shows over the next decade,” he said.

“This level of investment should be gladly accepted by the six incumbents,” Kim said in the report. “The question, however, remains for Genting, which does not have any assets in Macau. This means it will have to acquire existing assets and commit to additional capital expenditures if it receives the concession.” JP Morgan expects the six incumbents to prevail, “while the only feasible scenario for Genting would be via equity investments or via a joint-venture structure,” it said.

However, according to analysts and executives, Malaysian group Genting is a credible threat that could unseat an incumbent Macau operator for a new license, prompting the industry’s biggest potential shakeup in more than two decades. The six Macau incumbents have operated in the Chinese special administrative region since 2002, with their current concessions expiring at the end of this year.

Negotiations with the Macau government are almost complete with the bidders having reached an agreement about what each of them proposes to do over the new 10-year license term which begins in 2023. However, during the latest meeting, the government highlighted its concerns that the bidders’ proposals do not invest enough in non-casino elements and restated an earlier position that it will not grant any additional land for gaming facilities.

Gaming Concession Public Tender Committee Macau’s government tightened the city’s gambling laws early this year. While it will still issue six licenses, their duration will be halved to 10 years and the companies will be required to place more local permanent residents in top management positions, as reported by the South China Morning Post. The hopefuls all submitted their bids in September. The current licenses expire on December 31.

Authorities also said in June that “hopefuls must present detailed plans for developing foreign tourist markets and describe the benefits Macau can expect from gaming and non-gaming investments” and corporate social responsibility efforts. Lim Kok Thay, Chairman of Genting Group Lim submitted a last-minute bid under Genting-linked firm GMM Limited just hours before the tender closed on September 15.

The Hong Kong shares of Galaxy, Sands China, and SJM were flat at HK$45.60, HK$18.74, and HK$3.28, respectively, on Monday, while MGM China rose 3.66% to HK$4.81 and Wynn rose 4.42% to HK$4.49. Melco rose 12.33% to US$7.38 on the Nasdaq on Friday.