March 15, 2019 / 3:13 AM / 10 months ago

UPDATE 1-Macau extends casino licences for MGM China, SJM until 2022

* Extension brings licenses into parity with other 4 operators

* MGM, SJM to pay 200 million patacas each for extension

* Licence renewal likely to remain an overhang on shares -analysts (Adds details on extension and analyst comment)

HONG KONG, March 15 (Reuters) - Macau's government said on Friday it has extended casino concession licences for MGM China and SJM Holdings until 2022 in the world's largest gambling hub.

Both operators must pay 200 million patacas ($25 million) each for the extension, which brings the expiry date for their casino operations in line with those of Macau's other four casino operators, the government said.

Shares of both MGM China and SJM were suspended on Friday.

The expiration of casino licences in the Chinese territory of Macau has been a key uncertainty for investors, executives and analysts, with the government previously declining to give any information about the process.

Macau's casino operators, which also include Sands China , Wynn Macau, Galaxy Entertainment and Melco Resorts & Entertainment, will all need to rebid for licenses once they expire in 2022. There has been no detail as to what or how the process will be.

The licence situation will remain an overhang on the shares of the six operators well past the June 2022 expiration, Grant Govertsen, an analyst at Union Gaming in Macau, said.

"We believe the extensions have more to do with making the ultimate task of the license rebid situation easier, while at the same time making sure the labour market remains stable." ($1 = 8.0750 patacas) (Reporting By Farah Master; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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