No link between smoking ban and drop in gaming revenue

Chief Executive, Mr Chui Sai On, meets the press.

The Chief Executive, Mr Chui Sai On, said today that he saw no direct link between banning smoking in casinos and the drop in gaming revenues. The amendment bill for introducing a full smoking ban in all indoor areas will be submitted to the Legislative Assembly for discussions later this month. Speaking at a press briefing before leaving for a three-day visit to Beijing, Mr Chui said it was more important to adequately diversify the economy, explore opportunities in regional co-operation, and combine gaming and non-gaming elements during the consolidation period of the gaming industry. Mr Chui said the Government had a well-established financial system that includes the basic fiscal reserves, foreign currency reserves and surplus reserves, and this had helped to cope with situation following the drop in gaming revenues. The Government is exploring more stable and low-risk investments that would make adequate returns from the financial reserves. And if it was necessary, government departments would reduce their spending, but he stressed that social services, in particular welfare, would not be affected. On his visit to Beijing Mr Chui is scheduled to meet officials from the General Administration of China Customs and the State Oceanic Administration to exchange views on Macao’s jurisdiction over its “customary waters” and boundary-crossing arrangements. The work on waters jurisdiction will be completed before the end of this year, in line with the suggestion of the Central Government. The cross-departmental group, headed by the Chief Executive’s Office, is working closely with mainland authorities on issues such as the area, legislation, management, and the development in maritime economy in the near future.

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