Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lionel Leong Vai Tac (pictured centre), on Monday said the government’s mid-term review of the gaming industry would assess the weaknesses as well as the strengths of the city’s six concessionaires and sub-concessionaires via an eight-topic checklist.
Mr Leong stated: “People do not make check-ups only when they are sick, but also to know if they have any illness. With this review, we will help [casino] operators to do a ‘check-up’ and identify their shortcomings, and [help them find out] what they can do to rectify those shortcomings.”
The official said that, among other factors, the government will be analysing: the impact each operator had on Macau’s society; the introduction of non-gaming elements and how these have been developed; the percentage of non-gaming and gaming components; job creation and promotion opportunities offered to locals; and each company’s social responsibility programme.
Mr Leong was speaking at the Legislative Assembly, discussing with legislators this year’s policy address for economy and finance. Macau is expected to announce official figures for March casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) this week. Investment analysts said they expected Macau to record a year-on-year decline in March GGR of 35 percent or more, which would extend the city’s losing streak to 10 months.
The policy secretary stressed that negotiation on the renewal of the current gaming concession contracts would be based on the mid-term review to be conducted this year. Macau’s six current casino concessions expire on various dates between 2020 and 2022.
On Monday, Mr Leong said: “We need to carry out a proper review of the gaming operators’ work, so that we know how to intervene and improve their performance.”
The secretary said the idea is to be able to set out a mid- to long-term plan for the city’s gaming industry, after assessing if the objectives that had been proposed before have been achieved.
The policy address text covering economy and finance also states that the government will urge companies to improve their responsible gambling programmes, as well as it will seek to prevent pathological gambling among the local community.
Mr Leong also confirmed that the cap on live gaming tables would not be changed. The government has imposed a cap that seeks to limit the expansion in the number of live dealer tables to 3 percent compound annual growth until end-2022 from a base of 5,485 tables recorded by the authorities at the end of the fourth quarter in 2012.
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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