Macau casino operators “are the most eager stakeholders” in pushing for economic diversification in the city, says Pansy Ho Chiu King, co-chairperson of Macau-based gaming operator MGM China Holdings Ltd.
Ms Ho pointed out several reasons, with one being that economic diversification can help grow the profitable casino mass market segment by attracting new types of visitors to Macau.
Another is to help the city to remain competitive in Asia, as more jurisdictions consider opening casinos. “In order to maintain the competitiveness of Macau, we must forge ahead and build clout and critical mass,” Ms Ho said.
She said any attempt to promote economic diversification must be based on industries related to gaming. “There are still no other alternatives that can match the gaming revenues” and opportunities offered by casino companies, she said.
Ms Ho added: “Casinos are an integral part of diversification”.
Her comments were made today at Global Gaming Expo (G2E) Asia 2014, where she was a keynote speaker.
Revenue from gaming accounted for 87 percent of the city’s gross domestic product in 2013, while the government relied on this sector for 81.5 percent of its revenue, according to official figures. Several international bodies have recurrently said the city is too dependent on casino-related activities.
The Macau government has pledged to promote economic diversification, but has yet to achieve any significant results.
Ms Ho said Macau’s economy remains vulnerable as it continues to be based on just one industry, fed by one major market source – mainland China. But she said the efforts to push economic diversification have already bear fruit, with impressive growth of employment in non-gaming areas in Macau over the last 15 years.
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"The [Macau] government has a lead in this subject in regards to what should be done after the [gaming] concessions expire. We will be first listening to what the government will say”
Ambrose So Shu Fai
Vice-chairman and chief executive at Macau casino operator SJM Holdings