Macau monopoly puts stop to Cantor sports betting license

Jul 2, 2012 6:59 PM

Hopes by Cantor Fitzgerald to acquire a sports betting license in Macau were dashed last week when it was noted that a Macau operator has recently received a three-year extension to its sports betting license that guarantees a monopoly.

According to Macau Business Daily, a source from the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau said Macauslot’s monopoly on sports gaming was granted a three-year extension on June 5. MacauSlot holds a de facto monopoly on non-racing sports betting in the Macau territory that includes football and basketball.

The story became news through an interview given Bloomberg by Cantor Fitzgerald CEO Howard Lutnick. He was quoted as saying, “We’re in the process of getting licensed in Macau. When you have these (seven Las Vegas-based) big casinos as your partners, it makes it much easier.”

The announcement was followed by the revelation that the British Consul General to Hong Kong and Macau, Andrew Seaton, told the Macau Daily Times that several bookmaking companies in the United Kingdom also were interested in expanding their operations to Macau.

“Macau authorities will have to decide what part they want to pursue,” Seaton was quoted as saying. “Certainly there are some very famous British companies involved in sports betting around the world that will be delighted to pursue the opportunity in Macau.”

Many legal experts in Macau have expressed the opinion that the monopoly should be ended and competition introduced. One lawyer reportedly argued there may be grounds for would-be market competitors to mount a legal challenge to the continuation of the monopoly.

It was believed MacauSlot’s annual sports betting revenues amounted to about $100 million.