Macau Casino Contracts Hit Snag
By Linda
The Macau government is readying replacements for two of the three successful applicants for casino licenses, and has told a rival operator to prepare to take one of their licenses.

A report in says that Wynn Resort and Galaxy Casino has asked for a five-year extension to their 15-year contract as a condition of signing the licence agreement, according to a government source.

MP Entertainment, an unsuccessful applicant for a licence, had been told to take over if Wynn and Galaxy didn’t sign the agreement by April 1. Stanley Ho’s company is the only successful applicant to sign before the deadline, according to the same source.

Wynn and Galaxy’s argument is that they should have a five year advantage over Stanley Ho considering that he is already an established presence in the Macau casino industry. They claim the extra time is needed to develop an infrastructure to rival that of Ho’s existing operations, the Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau (STDM). STDM is the parent company of the other casino licensee Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (Macau Gaming Company), which now operates Macau's largest casino at the Hotel Lisboa.

“Wynn and Galaxy believe they have to start from scratch, while the Macau Gaming Company is already prepared as it has the existing hardware and software [from STDM] available,'' the source said. He added that Wynn and Galaxy were pressuring the government in the hope that it would soften its stance and grant the extensions.

Galaxy Casino is part-owned by the US entertainment corporation Venetian and Hong Kong property magnate Lui Chi-woo, while Wynn Resorts (Macau) is controlled by US casino tycoon Steve Wynn, who developed the Mirage and Bellagio hotel complexes in Las Vegas.

MP Entertainment is the favoured replacement, but Grand Macau Gaming and Macau Star have also been told they should be prepared to come in as late replacements, if the firms failed to sign the agreement, the source said.

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