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Melco Hopes for Smooth Road Ahead ASIA & OCEANIA


Operating loss for the second quarter of 2020 was US$370.8 million, compared with operating income of US$208.0 million in the second quarter of 2019


Melco Resorts’ revenues are unsurprisingly hit due to the pandemic, but excitement rises as early signs indicate a swift return to normal


MACAU CASINO OPERATIONS


AUSTRALIA – Australian operator Star Entertainment Group pointed to ‘strong performance pre-COVID-19’ adding that the pandemic has not delayed its projects in Queensland and NSW despite casino revenue being impacted by the lockdown closures.


It reported a net loss of $94.6m for the 12 months ending June 30, a 147.8 per cent decline compared with the previous year. Since reopening it has ‘focused on the safe and effective management of reopened properties’ and said it is now looking at ‘mitigating impacts from Sydney competition’ with positive early 1H FY2021 trading. It added that despite social distancing restrictions and reduced capacity, revenue in July had improved and was around 80 per cent of what was generated in July 2019.


Chairman John O’Neill AO said: “The Group continued executing its growth strategy despite an unprecedented environment. Whilst acknowledging the impacts of COVID19 have been extraordinarily challenging, the fundamental earnings prospects for The Star remain unchanged, underpinned by valuable long-term licences in sought after destinations. Major projects at Queen’s Wharf Brisbane and The Star Gold Coast are proceeding to plan, with the upgraded and expanded Sovereign at The Star Sydney delivered on time and budget.


“The Star delivered record normalised and domestic earnings for July 2019 to February 2020 on a pcp basis before the full impact of COVID-19. This reflected growth from investments, operational improvements and cost management benefits. The Star remains committed to maintaining a balance sheet that positions the Group for the post-COVID- 19 recovery. The Board has not declared a final dividend for FY2020.”


AUSTRALIA – Senet has appointed Paul Newson as Head of Advisory Practice. Specialising in gambling law, regulation, advisory services and compliance training, Senet is a multidisciplinary advisory firm and


a fitting home for one of Australia’s most highly regarded gambling regulation thought leaders.


“As previous CEO at Greyhound Racing NSW and Deputy Secretary responsible for liquor, gambling and racing in NSW, Paul brings unmatched regulatory knowledge and expertise to the Senet team,” said Julian Hoskins, Senet’s Principal of Gambling Law and Regulation Practice. “No other firm offers the breadth of specialist services Senet does, and Paul’s reputation for advancing regulatory policy and practice precedes him.”


P28 NEWSWIRE / INTERACTIVE / MARKET DATA


Melco Resorts' revenues for the second quarter of 2020 were US$0.18bn, representing a decrease of approximately 88 per cent from US$1.46bn for the comparable period in 2019. Te decrease in total operating revenues was primarily attributable to softer performance in all gaming segments and non-gaming operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in a significant decline in inbound tourism in the second quarter of 2020.


Operating loss for the second quarter of 2020 was US$370.8 million, compared with operating income of US$208.0 million in the second quarter of 2019. David Sisk, COO of Melco, said: "With no local cases of COVID-19 in over 144 days in Macau. I think, the China bubble that we're in, is a good place. But China will continue being cautious, much like Macau is going to continue to be cautious.”


Lawrence Ho, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented: “COVID-19 and the subsequent travel restrictions and quarantine requirements have significantly impacted our second quarter operating and financial performance. To help mitigate the impact from


Imperial Pacific's licence in jeopardy over licence fee wrangle


Northern Marianas


Imperial Pacific International has been warned by the Governor of the Northern Mariana Island that it could have its licence suspended got its Imperial Pacific resort or have it revoked altogether if it doesn't pay its annual US$15.5m license fee.


In response to the Saipan casino operator asking to have the licence fee delayed or postponed, Governor Ralph Torres sent a letter to IPI Chief Executive Officer, Donald Browne.


Imperial had already asked for a US$3m regulatory payment to be postponed due to the closures and effects on travel caused by the coronavirus pandemic.


COVID-19, we have been quick to formulate strategies to preserve liquidity and improve the Company’s balance sheet. In April, we bolstered our balance sheet by entering into a new senior facilities agreement and by selling the shares we held in Crown Resorts Limited.


“Turning to Japan, I want to highlight our unwavering commitment to bring to the country the best IR the world has ever seen. We believe our focus on the Asian premium segment, a portfolio of high-quality assets, devotion to craftsmanship, dedication to world-class entertainment offerings, market-leading social safeguard systems, established track record of successful partnerships, culture of exceptional guest service, and commitment to employee development puts Melco in a strong position to help Japan realise the vision of developing a world-leading IR with a unique, Japanese touch.


“Lastly, we are excited to see some early signs of returning to normal operations in our integrated resorts. In mid-June, operations at Cyprus Casinos have partially resumed. In addition, commencing from July 15, 2020, certain travelers entering Guangdong from Macau were no longer subject to mandatory quarantine.”


Governor Torres said: “I assume by ‘abatement for the year of 2020’ IPI seeks to be absolved from paying the required fee entirely. Tis request cannot be dealt with administratively as the fee has been set by law.


“Te law that provided IPI’s obligation specifically as the Casino License Fee was unconditional.Further, the Casino Regulatory Fee is created by Commonwealth Law. Te Force Majeure clause of the License Agreement cannot supersede an explicit statutory command of the Legislature. Tis is also true with regards to payment of the Casino License fee. Tis letter serves as the notice of intent to suspend or revoke the license required by Section 31 (of the Casino License Agreement). Pursuant to Section 31, IPI now is entitled to an 'adequate and reasonable time to cure' the breach.”


China


With Macau’s August GGR coming in at around 95 per cent less than last year, research firm Credit Suisse has highlighted how a tightening of regulations regarding outbound capital flow from the mainland is hindering revenues.


Credit Suisse’s Kenneth Fong, Lok Kan Chan and Rebecca Law said: “Our recent checks with junket agents show the situation is ongoing. A lot of junket agents were detained in China. Te agents are afraid even to collect gambling debt, not to mention bringing players to Macau. Pawn shops we spoke to said they need much longer time to wire money (three days for an amount that historically just need 15 minutes). As Macau runs low on HKD notes, junket agents are even willing to take a five to 10 per cent discount to cash out their cash chips – hurting premium mass players’ accessibility to capital.”


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