Macau’s Chief Executive, Fernando Chui Sai On, has pledged to carry out a public consultation on the casino concession renewal process ahead of making any decision on the matter.
The announcement was made on Saturday during a meeting with Macau residents as part of Mr Chui’s campaign for a second five-year term. He is running unopposed for the city’s top political post.
The Macau government has stated several times that between the years 2015 and 2016 it intends to start examining the renewal of the concessions. Macau’s six casino concessions expire between 2020 and 2022.
“I do agree that when we review the gaming licences, they [gaming operators] should promise us to invest more in non-gaming elements,” Mr Chui said, quoted by public broadcaster TDM.
“Since Macau is a world tourism and leisure centre, we absolutely need to launch a public consultation and we will do it transparently,” he added.
Mr Chui’s political manifesto also states that casino operators should “facilitate the provision” of accommodation and transportation to their migrant workers, know locally as ‘non-resident workers’ or ‘blue card holders’. He has yet to elaborate on what that could mean.
The existing rules in Macau oblige all companies to provide housing to their migrant workers or pay them a monthly housing allowance of at least MOP500 (US$62.60) – the amount was set in 2010. Several gaming operators, especially those with properties in Cotai, already provide shuttle bus services to their workers, both locals and migrants.
The chief executives of gaming operators SJM Holdings Ltd and MGM China Holdings Ltd have both said the companies are open to discuss the matter with the government. But both SJM Holdings’ Ambrose So Shu Fai and MGM China’s Grant Bowie have noted that this is a complex matter. They added that if casino operators are expected to build dorms for their migrant workers, they would need to be granted land for that.
In his political manifesto, Mr Chui also stated he aims to implement rules so that gaming operators give priority to local companies regarding product and service procurement.
The chief executive in Macau is elected by a committee of 400 people, mostly composed of pro-business and pro-Beijing figures. No member of the electoral committee is directly elected by the people of Macau.
The election is scheduled for August 31.
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