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China Has Plans for Macau

All six casino concessions in Macau are about to expire. The big question is whether the US-based companies – MGM, Wynn, and Las Vegas Sands – will be able to continue operating some of the most successful casinos in the world.

Of much less importance is whether Macau will let other operators come in.

A concession is not a license: Each of the three concessionaires and three sub-concessionaires already has the right to open as many casinos as they want. They also can have unlimited numbers of partners, some of whom are the real owners and operators of their casinos.

The current limit on concessions really only serves to cut out two groups: Casino companies that failed to get in when they had the chance, namely Caesars and Genting, and wealthy Mainland Chinese companies like railroads, which like the cash flow produced by legal gambling.

All current concession-holders will undoubtedly be renewed. No matter how bad the relationship between the US and China – short of a shooting war – economic ties require that everyone play nice. American companies spent billions of dollars building the most massive casinos in the world; there will be no more foreign investments if Macau says, “Thanks. Now, goodbye.”

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