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HONG KONG, June 15 (Reuters) – Macau’s government will formally sign a six-month licence extension for casino operators in the world’s largest gambling hub on June 23, local broadcaster TDM reported on Wednesday, an expected move ahead of licence expirations due this month.
The extension, to Dec.
31, allows more time for a highly anticipated rebidding process in the Chinese special administrative region, the only place in China where gambling in casinos is legal.
Macau’s six casino operators – Wynn Macau, Sands China, MGM China, SJM Holdings, Galaxy Entertainment and Melco Resorts – had all applied for the licence extension. They will each need to pay 47 million patacas ($5.81 million) for the extension.
The move also comes as the city’s legislature is due to approve an amended gaming law to lay the groundwork for what is required from multibillion dollar casino operators to continue operating in the former Portuguese colony.
Macau’s government did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In 2019 Macau raked in $36.5 billion from its casinos, more than six times that of the Las Vegas strip.
Since 2020 however Macau’s casinos have been slammed by coronavirus travel restrictions, which have curbed visitors, and crackdowns on the opaque junket industry.
Beijing, increasingly wary of Macau’s acute reliance on gambling, has not yet indicated how the licence rebidding process will be conducted.
(Reporting by Farah Master; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)