August 4, 2017 / 10:42 AM / in 4 months

Factbox - How Macau's casino licences work

(Reuters) - Macau’s gambling history dates back to the 16th century when the former Portuguese colony first opened its harbour to visitors. Stalls run by bankers were spread over streets and primarily catered to mainland Chinese workers.

In the 1960s, a company belonging to billionaire Stanley Ho won a casino monopoly allowing him to dominate the gambling industry for over 40 years.

Ahead of the handover between China and Portugual in 1999, the government decided to break up the monopoly and award a maximum of three concessions, according to the government.

In February 2002, SJM Holdings (0880.HK), Wynn Resorts (WYNN.O) and Galaxy Entertainment (0027.HK) were chosen out of 21 bidders from countries including Malaysia, Australia and Britian.

In December 2002, the government allowed Galaxy to issue a sub-concession to Las Vegas Sands for no additional payment.

SJM in 2005 issued a subconcession to MGM Resorts (MGM.N) for $200 million and in 2006 Wynn issued a subconcession to Melco for $900 million.

SJM and MGM are currently constructing their new casinos ahead of their concession expirations in 2020. They are the only companies yet to have a presence on Macau’s fast-growing Las Vegas styled Cotai strip.

Reporting by Farah Master; Editing by Neil Fullick

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