The Macau government wants to increase the share of the mass-market segment in the casino industry, and pledged to implement strict oversight on the allocation of new live-dealer gaming tables. The goals are stated in the draft version of the city’s second Five-Year Development Plan, which was released on Monday for public consultation.
Macau’s second Five-Year Development Plan includes social and economic aspirations for the city, and covers the period 2021 to 2025.
The document stated that the Macau government would “strengthen” regulations covering the gaming sector, in order to promote the “healthy development” of the city’s casino industry.
The draft version of the five-year plan has little in the way of specific policy aims for the gaming industry. It does not set goals for casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) growth.
The document stated the Macau government would work to “improve the structure” of the city’s gaming sector, including to push for an “increase in the proportion” of mass-market play.
A number of industry observers has told GGRAsia that the VIP segment has been placed recently under commercial pressure, due to a combination of regulatory and pandemic-related factors.
Brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd said in a Monday memo that it expected casino mass GGR in Macau “to recover to above 2019 levels in 2023 and then achieve low double-digit growth”. VIP however “will continue to struggle, rising to only circa 50 percent of 2019 levels in 2023,” suggested the institution.
The draft version of the five-year plan also stated the Macau government would “rigorously assess” all requests from casino operators for new-to-market gaming tables, and would “adequately implement” the work regarding the retender process for the city’s gaming rights.
The city’s current six gaming concessions are due to expire in June 2022, unless the authorities grant a form of limited extension as permitted under current Macau gaming law. The government has said Macau’s gaming law needs to be updated as a linked issue to a new public tender.
The Macau government has aimed to complete the revision of the gaming law by the fourth quarter this year, prior to submitting a finalised draft bill to the Legislative Assembly. The government’s schedule includes launching a public consultation on the city’s gaming law revision within the second half of this year.
The Macau government also plans to “strengthen supervision of the gaming industry, continue to push for responsible gaming and for the development of non-gaming offerings” in the city, according to the draft document.
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”The Macau government is not aiming to trivialise or drive out the junket sector, but to regulate the sector so that it would not hurt Macau’s reputation”
Alvin Chau Cheok Wa
Chief executive of privately-held VIP junket business Suncity Group