Having spent last week in Japan, it’s easy to see why there is so much excitement in the industry about what will undoubtedly become the world’s second biggest gaming market when Japanese IRs finally become a reality. But long before that happens, another potentially game-changing event will take place here in Macau where the city’s six concessionaires will go through the process of applying for new gaming licenses.
To recap, the 20-year licenses of SJM and MGM are due to expire in 2020, followed by the remaining four – Sands, Melco Resorts, Wynn and Galaxy – in 2022. The general expectation is that all will be issued new licenses although this is no absolute certainty, particularly given recent events at Wynn, and either way the process operators will need to go through will no doubt keep all on edge until their futures in Macau are confirmed.
More intriguing for the industry, however, is the prospect of a seventh or even eighth license being issues by Macau’s government. This was once considered an unlikely scenario but is in fact now seen as highly likely.
So while Japan looms large in the long-term, it is right here in Macau where Asian gaming’s next major development is likely to occur. Food for thought!