The operation of unlicensed betting companies in Macau is hurting the development of the sports betting sector, says local operator Macau Lottery Co., Ltd. (Macau Slot).
A spokesperson of the only local licensed operator in the field said that “the existence of illegal sports betting [is affecting] the current development of the sports betting [business],” among other inhibitions that prevent it from taking off.
The same spokesperson added that the business is also being affected by other factors, such as the “external economy.”
Sports betting is kicking off in the U.S. after the Supreme Court last year ended Nevada’s monopoly on legal sportsbooks.
Since then sports betting has opened in eight more states. Another seven states plus the District of Columbia have legalized the practice but have not yet opened sportsbooks yet.
Questioned as to the potential of such a market to develop in Macau, the Macau Slot spokesman said that “the sports betting market has growth potential [but a] more diverse range of services is required in order to stimulate such market growth.”
Macau Slot downplayed the possibility of the domestic growth of football in China being able to be a stimulating factor. “Football development in China will not be the main factor stimulating market growth. The market growth depends mainly on a variety of sports betting types.”
“Our company is the only legal operator offering sports betting in football and basketball right now, but there are many other sports betting types” that could be added to the roster, the spokesperson suggested.
It has been a long-held wish of the operator to be able to diversify more and offer a wider range of sports betting. The step would create a “breakthrough in the company performance,” said the representative.
Last month, the company reported profits of more than MOP224 million, up 22.1% compared to last year. The company attributed the profit surge to the introduction of more diverse types of betting, including betting on the number of corner kicks and bets relating to first- half results.
It plans to invest in technology infrastructure upgrades and sports-related news services in the near future.
Although Macau Slot is the only registered company with a license to operate in the market, people in Macau have ways to access, both directly and indirectly, other sports betting platforms operating in other jurisdictions.