Six concessions enough, Ho says

Melco Resorts & Entertainment Chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho said he would favor maintaining the status quo in Macau when it comes to renewing the concessions for the gambling hub’s six operators.

“It’s really up to the government in terms of – is it the same number of licenses – I would support that,” he told reporters in Macau. “Because at the end of the day the six concessionaires have done quite a lot over the last 15 years. And also they, I think based on what the Chinese government wants, they do want more growth in non-gaming rather than gaming. So it doesn’t make that much sense to have more licenses.”

The first of Macau’s gaming concessions — those of SJM Holdings and MGM China — are set to expire in 2020. With the deadline looming, operators have been seeking clarity from the government, which late last year said mid-2018 may be an “appropriate” time to provide details.

“Melco has always done, from a diversification/non-gaming standpoint, in my opinion more than most of our competitors,” he said. “So we’re very confident on that basis, that we listened to the Macau government ten years ago in terms of what they wanted,” he said. “So I think we want to continue to be good partners and again, continue to do more for our colleagues and do more for the community as well.”

Ho also confirmed that the second phase of the company’s Studio City resort will add more entertainment options and non-gaming options to complement the current offering. The resort opened in 2015 and has a Hollywood and film theme.