New regulations took effect Friday to ensure fair competitions and effective management in the gaming industry in China’s Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR).
According to the new “Gaming Industry Regime”, there will be a maximum of three operators of Macao’s gambling business, which indicates that the 40-year monopoly of the Macao Tourism and Amusement Company (STDM) on the gaming industry will be broken down.
Casino licenses will be granted in the process of public tenders and remain effective in 20 years as well as a possible extension of five years at maximum.
The regime stipulates that taxation should make up 35 percent of the casino gross revenues. In addition, all the casinos should contribute less than 5 percent of their gross revenues to the cultural, economic, educational and scientific development and urban construction in Macao.
The regulations also introduce taxes on commissions and other income of middlemen working for the future casino operators.
The “Gaming Industry Regime” was passed by the Macao Legislative Assembly after article-by-article debates Thursday night.
Last-ditch bid to save Aladdin from bankruptcy
ALADDIN, the troubled Las Vegas casino business backed by London Slot Online Clubs International, has defaulted on debts of $742m, bringing bankruptcy a step closer, a prospect that sent LCI shares to a record low on Friday of 28p.
Aladdin failed to meet a Tuesday deadline to renegotiate its credit agreement with a syndicate of banks which would have deferred debt repayments until September 2002, saving it $18m. This would have kept the business solvent for another year.
Missing the deadline means Aladdin’s equity backers, LCI and the Sommer Trust, are required to pump another $8.7m into the project but the Sommer Trust has run out of cash and LCI’s own bankers are refusing to finance any more payments until the credit agreement is signed.
While the Bank of Nova Scotia, Aladdin’s lead banker, is understood to be close to agreeing the new credit arrangements it has so far failed to persuade other banks in the debt syndicate.
At least one undertaking the banks want is the completion of LCI’s side deal to buy most of the Sommer Trust’s Aladdin stake, taking LCI to 85 per cent owner. Although announced a month ago, this deal is yet to complete.
As Aladdin is now in default its banks can call in the debts, forcing the casino to file for bankruptcy. But last-ditch negotiations are continuing this week to try to save the resort from going out of business.
A spokesman for LCI said: “Talks are ongoing. They are complex and are taking longer than hoped.”