SJM consultant says additional concessions unlikely

Grand Lisboa

Former SJM Holdings executive director Rui Cunha on Thursday said that he believes there won’t be “space” for more than six gaming concessions come 2022, Macau Business reports.

During a legal reforms conference held at the University of Macau this week, Mr. Cunha said that an increase in operators could lead to the growth of gaming-related crimes.

“Six operators are already substantial and they have invested and brought all this flux of gamblers. A larger opening up could lead to other difficulties since it is a sector in which unregulated activities easily appear,” said Cunha on Thursday.

“We could see the amount of illegal loans, kidnappings, all things that could appear. A proliferation of gaming concessionaires would not be very healthy to Macau. This is just my opinion.”

The SJM consultant also warned for the Macau government to ease back on activities aimed at tackling money laundering or stricter junket requirements, as this could “scare away gamblers”.

“Macau needs to be very cautious because adopting measures that are too strict or imposing heavier taxes when the competition might have more favorable situations that could lead to Macau entering a decline period of visitors and gamblers,” he added.

“It’s important to have a transparent environment but not that transparency is so strict as to scare away large gamblers,” he said.

Regarding the license rebidding / renewals process, Cunha said with the amount that each operator has invested in Macau, he did not foresee a situation where the six concessions in Macau are not renewed.

“I’m convinced that the last 20 years experience will help find the best adjustments. I don’t think there is the necessity for substantial changes but the need for some adjustments considering the different circumstances when comparing to 2001 when we were in a totally different economic and financial situation from today,” he said.