PBL has acquired a US $900M sub-concession to own and operate hotel casino resorts in Macau from Wynn Resorts, effectively allowing it to reap all profits from its two planned casino developments.

      The deal also means that James Packer and his gaming partner, Melco International, will be able to build other casino developments in the areas. PBL and Melco International, will now have no operational ties with Stanley Ho’s SJM, which has dominated the Macau casino industry for 30 years. Ho will remain as chairman of Melco, controlled by his son Lawrence Ho, but SJM has agreed to waive important rights it holds with the joint venture partners.
      It is understood that under arrangements negotiated before PBL and Melco had the prospect of obtaining their own sub-concession, SJM would have operated the two casinos, the $260m high-roller Crown Macau and the $1.4bn mass-market City of Dreams, on behalf of the joint venture partners.
      SJM would have been entitled to over 20 percent of gross gaming revenues, but now, PBL AND Melco will be able to operate the casinos and lift table numbers- restricted under the original deal with SJM. The two companies will also now equally split the profits in Macau rather than Melco taking 60 per cent.
      It is still not fully understood why Ho agreed to waive SJM’s rights, although Ho has been under scrutiny from Macau gaming regulators for some time and this deal can perhaps be seen as an attempt at some positive public relations.
      For James Packer, this represents his first big deal since the Boxing Day death since the Boxing Day death of his father, Kerry.
      The deal, if approved, will be effective until June 2022. Packer said: “I expect that the acquisition of the sub concession will deliver an excellent return on PBL’s investment and in addition will allow a more flexible and robust operating structure for our two proposed Macau casinos, crown Macau and City of Dreams. ”
      Sub-concessions issued to date in Macau do not limit the number of casinos or limit the number of casinos or limit the number of tables and machines in those casinos.

Sky City in Unitab takeover rumours

SKYCITY Entertainment Group is strongly tipped to be preparing a takeover of Unitab, after managing director Evan Davies described the two gaming companies as ‘complementary. ’
      Speculating has been mounting that the New Zealand-based casino owner is looking to take over Queensland’s Unitab. It was announced recently that Unitab’s long-serving chief executive, Dick Mcllwain, would step down in October.
     “We know the Unitab people quite well and I know Dick quite well because we worked together in both South Australia and the Northern Territory,” Davies said to local press. “That’s the nature of our relationship. We work in similar geographies in what I think are reasonably complementary fields.

      Auckland-based SkyCity owns casinos throughout New Zealand, and Adelaide and Darvin in Australia, while Unitab operates gaming and wagering services in Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory. “I think we’re quite good at gaming. We don’t know too much about wagering,” Davies added, although he refused to rule out a merger between the two companies.
     “If a business were available that I though was priced sensibly and that I thought we could add value to, and if I saw an opportunity, then certainly I wouldn’t rule it out. ” SkyCity has a virtual monopoly of the gaming market in New Zealand, so growth is limited. Regulations prevent the group building any new casinos there and the market in New Zealand generally has dipped recently.
      Davies believes that there is ‘significant growth available in the Australian market. He said there was also organic growth available for Darwin casinos, but thought it unlikely there would be any new casinos in Australia in the foreseeable future.

      Davies also said that SkyCity was not planning any expansion into Asia at the moment.

*  South Africa’s new limited payout machine industry has made a significant contribution to public revenues, created over 100 sustainable new jobs, and is committed to over R200m in new investment. Limited Payout Machine Association deputy chairman, Paul Leonard, said that the new industry had substantially advanced National Gambling Act objectives.

“Although our sector only operates in three provinces so far, and is little more than two years old, we accounted for more than R40m last year in government revenue. ” All companies within the LPMASA are active participants in South Africa’s internationally-acknowledged National Responsible Gambling Programmed, and fully satisfied the programmer’s protocols in respect of staff and site owner training, public education, research and free help for those who experienced problems with their gambling.
     “Now that Limpopo has licensed its first LPM operator, the province will share in these types of benefits. Others, like   KZN and North West, will be introducing LPMs in the near future,” he said.