A plucky local upstart will take on Macau's moguls

By Katrina Hamlin

(The author is a Breakingviews columnist.)

HONG KONG, Dec 31 ( Breakingviews) - A plucky local upstart can take on Macau's moguls. Licenses in the world's largest gambling hub start to expire in 2020, forcing all players to pitch for a spot on the casino floor. With frayed U.S.-China relations dealing American giants Sands China, Wynn Macau and MGM China a weaker hand, homegrown names will try their luck.

Meanwhile, entrepreneurs in Asia's own Las Vegas are readying their bets. Suncity controls about half of all VIP gaming in the territory through its junket business, which organises glitzy escapades. It is expanding into casinos overseas and Andrew Lo, executive director of its Hong Kong-listed unit, says the company would pursue a licence in Macau if given the chance.

On the Cotai strip, expect local punters to raise the stakes.

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- This is a Breakingviews prediction for 2019. To see more of our predictions, click


- Licences for Macau casino operators SJM Holdings and MGM China are set to expire in 2020, while contracts for the remaining four operators Galaxy Entertainment, Melco International, Sands China and Wynn Macau will end in 2022.

- The licences were first awarded in a complex process in the early 2000s. Government officials have said there may be a new public bidding process when they expire.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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