Macau has a good thing going on with their local gambling industry, and they aren’t about to change that. A new publication from the Hong Kong-based Steve Vickers and Associates Ltd, the 2019 Risk Assessment Report, finds that the local government would “not want to destabilise” the sector.
The changes the report expects to see in 2019 all resolve around the rocky relationship between the U.S. and China. The current trade war between the two countries has no end in sight, and to keep the favor of its big cousin China, Macau might make moves to diminish American presence in the gambling industry in the city state. They suspect Macau could “dilute U.S. casinos’ sectoral dominance, not least given the links between the gaming tycoons and the Republican Party.”
At the moment, half of Macau’s licensees are majority-owned by U.S. companies. Current licenses are due to expire in the next one to three years. The report speculates that the concessions will all be extended to 2022 so they can be dealt with all at once.
This isn’t just fear-mongering for American investors. Ho lat Seng, currently president of the Legislative Assembly and front-runner for Chief Executive, is known to be close to China and the report suggests he could fight for a shift away from the American licensees.