China – GETTING THE BALL ROLLING: Macau to end monopoly on gambling industry, issue licenses
Ending a US$2 billion-a-year monopoly on its gambling industry, Macaus government is issuing three casino licenses by the end of the year.
A government spokesperson for the Macau Special Administrative Region revealed the governments plans on July 13.
The issue of how to open the gambling industry was left to the current special administrative government, according to the July 16 Beijing Qingnian Bao (Beijing Youth Daily). Two kinds of valid operation periods of the licenses are eight years and 20 years; however, the operation period can be extended to a maximum of 25 years.
During the past 40 years, Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau (STDM), controlled by casino tycoon Stanley Ho, has held the sole license to run Macaus gambling sector. With increasing demand for the opening of casino operating rights, in 1997 the transitional government of Macau extended the monopoly operating rights of STDM to 2001.
The long-standing monopoly has made STDM a mammoth entity. It owns 10 casinos in Macau providing round-the-clock service, with 15,000 employees. Net assets of the company are estimated at US$3 billion. Furthermore, Ho also has a monopoly on the marine transportation service sector between Macau and Hong Kong and holds stakes in Macaus airports, airlines and a golf course. In addition, he has invested and built many hotels, highways, bridges, power plants, racetracks and ports.
STDM is regarded as the most profitable casino in the world. The company contributes nearly 32 percent of its annual income to government coffers, accounting for nearly 60 percent of annual government revenue. Tax contribution of the company even reached as high as US$30 million for the first five months of the year. More about Semua Situs Slot Mpo
Foreign companies are welcome to bid for the licenses, but they would first have to set up a local shareholding company in Macau. Detailed proposals will be forwarded to the legislature for scrutiny next week. The spokesperson did not disclose how many casinos each license winner would be allowed to run and the amount of taxes they would have to pay, the article said.
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The Rat Pack might not be there – but Las Vegas style casinos resorts could come Britain under plans for a radical reform of the country’s gaming laws.
The government-commissioned review wants all sorts of restrictions dating from the 1960s to be scrapped.
But at the same time, it wants to tighten up controls on gambling by under eighteens.
Our Business Correspondent Jonathan Rugman has been taking a punt on what the future might hold:
Why has this change come about?
Well gambling in Britain is stuck in the dark ages. We visited a casino last night and the restrictions were amazing. You can’t use your credit card to gamble, there’s a ban on live entertainment in the casino, and you can’t have an alcoholic drink next to you at the gaming table. More people are flocking to Las Vegas from Britain than anywhere else in Europe and the government would like to update our laws.
As it is we spend 56 billion pounds a year on gambling and that’s a very nice earner for the government coffers.
Jon Snow: So what does Sir Alan propose?
Well its Sodom and Gomorrah here we come really.
His committee is recommending drinks into casinos, use of credit cards, casino advertising, he says you shouldn’t have to wait 24-hours after you’ve become a member of a casino to be able to gamble in it.
Jon Snow: Well who really stands to gain from this?
Well the gambling industry will be delighted. And the other big winner stands to be Blackpool. The town fathers feel that as a resort its been stagnating, it’s a town which has 10 per cent unemployment in places and it wants to build six large Las Vegas-style casino resorts. The first one, called the Pharaoh’s Palace, will create 3,000 jobs as a major part of its urban regeneration programme.
Jon Snow: And there must be opposition – I mean official figures show some 400,000 people in Britain are problem gamblers as it is…
Well that’s true – 0.8 per cent of the adult population have gambling problems, in America its 1.1 per cent and Sir Alan admitted to me those figures are probably going to go up with more liberal gaming laws.
Though he is proposing that the industry voluntarily funds a trust which helps gambling addicts and he’s saying that fruit machines should be taken out cafes and chip shops.
The other concern is held by the police – a senior police officer told me this afternoon that casinos are still the main channel for money laundering in the United States. “We recognise the need for relaxing the law here” he said “but we want to be assured it will be controlled to prevent criminal infiltration of the gaming industry”.