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MACAU BUSINESS


challenges, like a typhoon, to which you have to react immediately. There were a lot of difficult times.


You mentioned several challenges and I would like you to single out an achievement that you are particularly proud of. P. M.C. - There are a few, actually. For example, the regulation regarding junkets and the


reduction in the number of junkets. There were 270 licenses then and there are 95 now. This reduction occurred without great impact to the gaming sector. This effort is very difficult and we are trying to achieve a balance. Not many people mention this, but a balance is very important, because when you want to tighten the regulations, there usually is some sort of negative impact in the industry. However, we are bringing change in a very balanced way. As you know, starting in August 2016, our gross gaming revenue experienced a period of consecutive growth that lasted more than 20 months.


There were also improvements in terms of tackling money laundering… P. M.C. - Yes. The other achievement involves the APG - the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering. We got a very high score from them and we actually didn’t publicize it. In 2017, during its meeting in Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, we were rated very high. In fact, only six gaming jurisdictions in the entire world got such a high rating. The report went so far as to say that in the gaming area,


we are doing a good job. So, I feel that, for Macau, where gaming is the main economic activity, to have such a rating from the APG – which is an independent and very objective international organization - is very important. Last year, we were once again evaluated and got their


highest scoring yet. That was a big achievement. Of course, we also have banking, real estate and liberal activities, like lawyer offices, but gaming is extremely important when making this sort of evaluation. On a more personal level, it was also important to have


received the Regulator of the Year award from the International Masters of Gaming Law. But, of course, that was also a recognition of the government’s work, as well as that of all my colleagues. Overall, I am satisfied with our performance.


In terms of updating the gaming legislation taking into consideration that we’ll soon have the renewal of gaming licenses, in 2022, what did you and your office achieved in the past four years? P. M.C. - Well, it’s a pity that some of the proposals have not yet reached or passed in the legislative body, but I did all I could have done. Our main task was to prepare the draft and we did that


according to what we thought it was the best way to go. Obviously, some considerations and choices were made at a higher level and I understood that, but whatever I could have done at that stage, I did.


20 AUGUST 2020


And all of those proposals still need to reach the legislative assembly for approval? P. M.C. - Yes. There are different steps and different departments are involved. Like the justice department [Legal Affairs Bureau], which has a word to say about the technical part. Others as well, but we did our part.


Can you recall the overall themes or areas that will be under review? P. M.C. - Some things I can’t discuss now, because this is not the right time and I have left the position. I wouldn’t like to be discourteous towards my successor and talk about it, but, certainly, the idea is to strengthen the regulations. Macau needs to be a highly regulated gaming jurisdiction. That’s all I can say about that topic.


You were singling out achievements that you are particularly proud of. Surely there are also things that you feel frustrated about, that you were not able to achieve or complete. P. M.C. - I really feel that the internal organic law of the DICJ (Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau) should be amended. We actually started working on that early on. It’s a pity it hasn’t been approved yet. Also, some of the equipment we use, needs to be replaced, but due to bureaucracy and budget constraints, we were not able to do that. It should be completed soon, but I would have liked it to be completed earlier.


The extension of the Macau Jockey Club concession, for a further 24 years, was approved two years ago. This renewal raised a lot of controversy. Looking back, was it a wise move? How did you reach that decision? P. M.C. - We proceeded to study the situation and we submitted a study to the higher instances. The general feeling is that we should have diversification in the local economy and within the gaming sector itself. We had already terminated greyhound racing and if we did the same to horse racing, we would end up with only casino and slot hall gaming. The Government wanted to preserve some diversity and, since they needed some time to develop their business, the government allowed them more time than usual or expected. However, there are conditions involved, like paying back the money they owe. Also, if they are unable to complete the different phases of the project within the respective and agreed timings, the whole contract will likely be voided.


Some people might call junkets Macau’s undesirable necessity, but the junket industry changed a lot in past years as VIP gaming lost ground to premium mass and mass market. Now but analysts are saying that Covid-19 and the need to control mass movements, might actually help them regain some business. What’s your opinion on this? P. M.C. - The pandemic is damaging every part of the gaming sector. There is no one entering Macau right now and, as you know, gaming is about probabilities. If there is a mass of people coming, some will win, some will lose. VIP can contribute, of course, to improving the situation, because a single player bets a great amount, but there is also a greater possibility for the casino to lose, when the number of players is reduced, regardless of the amount they bet.


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