By Farah Master
HONG KONG (Reuters) -Macau’s government said on Friday that the number of new casino operators allowed to operate in the world’s largest gambling hub would be limited to six concessionaires with an operating period of up to 10 years.
The announcement, which has been highly anticipated by casino executives, investors and analysts, puts an end to concerns that the government would change the current status quo for the number of operators in the Chinese controlled territory.
The licences of the six Macau operators, Wynn Macau, Sands China, MGM China, SJM Holdings, Galaxy Entertainment and Melco Resorts, are all due to expire in June this year.
The government said all existing or potential operators need to apply through a new tender process. It did not detail when operators will have to bid or whether the current license term will be extended, according to a notice posted on its website.
Casino operators must increase the amount of capital to 5 billion patacas ($623.67 million) from 200 million patacas previously, and increase the requirement for a Macau based director of the company to hold 15% from 10% currently.
The former Portuguese colony is the world’s biggest gambling hub in terms of money wagered.
($1 = 8.0170 patacas)
(Reporting by Farah Master and Twinnie Siu; editing by Jason Neely and Kim Coghill)