Macau’s Secretary for Security, Wong Sio Chak (pictured), has also been appointed to the local Gaming Commission, shows the city’s Official Gazette.
The Secretary for Security previously appointed a representative to the commission.
The change means four out of Macau’s five governmental secretaries are members of the commission. The only secretary not on the body is the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Alexis Tam Chon Weng.
The government provided no explanation for the commission revamp. According to official data, gaming-related crime cases in Macau increased by 38 percent in 2015.
The commission’s purpose is to research gaming, draft gaming policy, and to monitor and create guidelines for the industry, according to the executive order that established the body. The role of chairman is taken by the chief executive of the city.
The body has eight members – all from within the government and the public administration – including the head of Macau’s casino regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.
The government created the Gaming Commission in 2000. It played a big part in the liberalisation of Macau’s gaming industry.
The body was totally revamped in February 2010, after being dormant for some time. The government changed the membership of the commission, appointing a greater number of senior officials than had previously been on board. However, since that change, according to a review by GGRAsia of publicly available sources, the body has neither held any meetings that made the news nor published any public reports.
The Macau government is expected soon to start talks with the city’s six casino operators on whether to allow them to stay in the market beyond the expiry of their current concessions and sub-concessions, which occur on various dates between 2020 and 2022.
The local authorities are currently producing what they term a “mid-term review” of the city’s gaming industry. Based on earlier official statements, it had been expected that the results of the review would be in the public domain by now. But – according to Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong Vai Tac – the process has been “slower than expected”. The mid-term review began in May last year.
The Macau government has previously said that how each of Macau’s six casino operators scores in the review will have no direct impact on whether or not the government would refresh gaming rights for them. Mr Leong has admitted that negotiation on the specific terms under which any such renewals might take place would be based on the mid-term review’s conclusions.
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“We expect Las Vegas Sands to not have any material change in strategy. The focus remains developing Macau and Singapore”
Vitaly Umansky, Kelsey Zhu and Tianjiao Yu
Analysts at brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein