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MACAU BUSINESS


players would retain a license. “The operators have to hand back the casinos to the government at the expiry of their licenses, and the government could assign the properties for others to run,” he talked about this possible scenario. Some companies have already shown interests in the


past few years that they would be interested in setting foot in the world’s most prominent gambling enclave, including David Chow Kam Fai, executive director and co-chairperson of Macau Legend Development Ltd, which runs three satellites casinos in the territory; Chan Meng Kam, who controls Golden Dragon Group that operates four casino-hotels here; and Suncity Group, one of the largest junket operators here. Mr. Song expects the new tendering process would


Gaming Initiatives Laid Out in Policy Address for 2020


 The compound annual growth cap of three percent on casino tables continues to be in force


 The proportion of local residents in the mid-to-high level management of gaming companies of no less than 85 percent continues to be in force


 The government continues to encourage the gaming operators to develop the mass market and non-gaming offerings


 A review on how casino companies implement the anti-money laundering guidelines will be completed by the third quarter of 2021


 A review on the compliance of the internal operations of gaming concessionaires and sub-concessionaires will be concluded by the last quarter of 2020


 An array of measures to strengthen the supervision over the junkets, including better background checks and a review on their audit and anti-money laundering procedures


 Establish a specific project enquiry platform for gaming concessionaires and sub-concessionaires


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attract new companies to run for a license, but stressed the turnout depends on how the economy and the industry will shape out in the coming months. Prior to the turmoil caused by COVID-19, the Macau gaming revenue declined 3.4 per cent last year, the first annual drop since 2016, over the slowing mainland economy and the Sino-US trade war. In the first quarter of this year, the gaming revenue recorded the biggest quarterly loss on record of 60 percent since the liberalisation of the gaming industry in 2002 over the pandemic. Wang Changbin, director of Centre for Gaming and


Tourism Studies at the Macau Polytechnic Institute, also acknowledges the possibilities of the existing operators failing to gain the future license. “It really depends on how many licenses the government will issue in the retendering process,” he explains. “If the number is set at six or less, there is a likely chance that not all existing operators will retain status quo given the bidding process is open to all parties; if there are seven to eight licenses or more, it is then very likely the existing operators could continue to operate.” But, the scholar pinpoints the rationale behind the


future number of gaming licenses will not be pure science. “There are six gaming operators now, but there are actually 41 casinos, and from a science perspective, it’s difficult to say how many gaming licenses are suitable for the city,” he remarks. “At the end, it is a political decision.”


22 JULY 2020


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