Melco Resorts Chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho said the business has already applied to the Macau SAR Government for a six-month extension of its casino concession.
Only a week ago, on March 10, Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lei Wai Nong, announced that the six casino gaming operators’ concessions would be extended from the previous expiry date of June 2022 to December 31, 2022. The government will have more time to pass an updated gaming law and re-tender for casino concessions as a result of the prolongation.
During a weekend event with Chinese-language reporters, Ho confirmed that Melco had already submitted its application and that most other providers would have done so as well.
He was quick to point out, however, that market conditions remain difficult as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, possibly referring to reports from last week that concessionaires will be required to pay between MOP$50 million and MOP$80 million (US$6.2 million and US$9.9 million) to extend their concessions.
According to Ho, total gaming revenues in the first few months of 2022, which included Chinese New Year, are expected to be between 20% and 30% lower than in 2019. Although Ho stated at the recent “Two Sessions” discussions in Beijing that the mainland should strive to reduce visa requirements with Macau to make travel easier, he also stated that he was mentally preparing for another difficult year in 2022.
Melco recently announced a net loss of US$159.9 million in 4Q21, with operating revenues of US$480.6 million, down 67 percent from the same period last year.