Fernando Chui Sai On was elected on Sunday – as expected – for a second consecutive five-year term as Macau’s chief executive, the city’s top political post.
Mr Chui, who was running uncontested, received 96 percent of the votes.
His endorsement came via 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 committee featured several people connected to the gaming industry, including MGM China Holdings Ltd co-chairperson Pansy Ho Chiu King; Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd vice-chairman Francis Lui You Tung; and SJM Holdings Ltd chief executive Ambrose So Shui Fai, among others.
First elected chief executive in 2009 – also running unopposed – Mr Chui is now expected to remain in post until December 2019. He is prevented by law from running for a consecutive third term.
Mr Chui has yet to say whether he will invite Secretary for Economy and Finance Francis Tam Pak Yuen, who oversees the gaming portfolio, to carry on in his position. Mr Tam has been in office for 15 years.
Mr Chui pledged during his re-election campaign to carry out a public consultation on the casino concession renewal process ahead of making any decision on the matter.
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.
Mr Chui’s political manifesto also stated 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.
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.
Macau’s economy is highly reliant on casino gaming. The sector’s revenues were equivalent to almost 80 percent of the city’s GDP for the three months to June 30.
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"The Hong Kong protests may hurt Macau gross gaming revenue by about mid-single-digit (i.e., half of maximum visitation exposure), which should fade away gradually as people will find alternative ways to visit Macau”
DS Kim, Jeremy An and Christine Wang
Analysts at brokerage JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd