Sands China submits bid for new Macau concession

| By Marese O'Hagan
The Venetian Macau Limited, a subsidiary of Sands China, has submitted a tender to the Macau government in an effort to secure one of six available casino licences in the special administrative region.

Ho Iat-Seng, Macau’s chief executive, announced the public tender process in July. It was introduced as part of a reform of gaming in the special administrative region. A new framework will replace the existing system of three concessionaires and three subconcessionaires with a simpler model of six concessions.

At present Galaxy Entertainment, Las Vegas Sands, Melco, MGM China, SJM and Wynn are the six operators permitted to offer gaming in Macau.

The Committee for Public Tendering of Concessions for the Operation of Casino Games will oversee the entire tender process.

Those that receive concessions will be allowed to operate in Macau for 10 years from the date of enactment.

If granted a concession by the Macau government, the Venetian Macau could begin offering gaming under the new licence on 1 January 2023.

Besides changes to the licence structure, the new Macau gaming law will include rules such as a limit on gaming tables and machines, which is tied to GGR, and new tax rules including potential tax breaks for operators that attract international custom.

Big believer

In its statements announcing the submission, Sands highlighted how invested the company is in Macau.

“The tender submission highlights both the unprecedented level of investment Sands China has made in Macau, specifically in non-gaming tourism amenities and attractions, as well as detailing the organisation’s plans for continuing to help broaden Macau’s appeal as an international tourist destination,” read a joint statement from Sands China and its parent company Las Vegas Sands.

Robert Goldstein, chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands and Sands China, emphasised Sands’ commitment to the region and how important the tender would be to its success.

“No one has been a bigger believer in Macau’s long-term success as a leisure and business tourist destination than we have,” said Goldstein.

“Investments in our world-class assets, our team members and the local community are a testament to our overall commitment to Macao and this tender submission reiterates our longstanding strategy of continuous investment in Macau.”

Sands China’s president and executive director, Wilfred Wong Ying-wai, said that Sands’ presence in Macau has benefited the region greatly since its first concession was granted 20 years ago.

“The entrepreneurial vision of our founder, Mr Sheldon G Adelson, combined with the leadership of the government and the dedication of our team members, has helped lead a remarkable transformation of Macao over the past twenty years,” said Wong.

“Over the next decade we hope to play a leading effort in helping Macau attract more tourists from more parts of the world and further its efforts to be recognised as a world centre of tourism and leisure.”

People moves

Sands China also announced a number of proposed changes in senior roles.

If these changes go ahead, Dave Sun Minqi, Sands China’s chief financial officer, could take on the role of managing director of the Venetian Macau Limited “in the future”.

Meanwhile, Grant Chum Kwan Lock, Sands China’s chief operating officer, will become the executive vice-president of Asia operations for Las Vegas Sands, alongside his current role.

In this position, he will also attend to Las Vegas Sands’ properties in Macau and Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

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