Government expects better gaming performance in October

Secretary for Economy and Finance, Mr Leong Vai Tac, meets the press.

The Secretary for Economy and Finance, Mr Leong Vai Tac, said that so far in October, monthly gaming revenue performance judged year-on-year has been better than in the prior few months. Gaming revenue recorded so far this month showed a 20 percent year-on-year decline, compared to a near-40 percent aggregate decline year-on-year in the first half of 2015, the Secretary told reporters on 21 October. He said better gaming performance in October was due to Golden Week, a week-long holiday on the mainland to mark National Day. Mr Leong was asked by reporters about the impact on Macao of a slowing in the growth of the mainland economy. He noted that the economy of Macao – a city driven by its tourism and gaming industries – was influenced by what happened in neighbouring areas. To limit any negative impact, the Government had stepped up its efforts in promoting diversification of the city’s economy. Mr Leong stated that the benefits brought by new industries would be felt long-term rather than necessarily in the short term. The administration would work closely with the community to grasp fresh economic opportunities during the period of adjustment in the gaming industry, he said. The Secretary had stated on the sidelines of a public event on 20 October that the Government had decided, after comprehensive analysis, to allocate respectively 250 and 100 new-to-market mass-market gaming tables to two of the city’s operators. The table allocations aim to encourage the gaming industry to strengthen its efforts in promoting non-gaming attractions, thus aiding the city’s economic diversification, Mr Leong had said that day. Mr Leong said 250 new-to-market gaming tables were being allocated to Studio City in view of the project not having VIP business. A total 200 tables can be operated right after the opening of the property and the additional 50 tables can be used from 1 January 2016. Regarding the Galaxy Macau phase 2 and Broadway Macau, Mr Leong said on 20 October that the Government welcomed the company’s partnership with local small- and medium-sized enterprises. The Government has decided to allocate 100 tables to the company’s mass-market gaming operations. A total of 50 new-to-market tables can be introduced with immediate effect while the rest can be utilised from 1 January 2016. That day the Secretary also said the Government wanted to see any additional tables utilised for mass-market play rather than for VIP play. This could help encourage the development of further non-gaming elements in Macao’s tourism sector, such as food and beverage retailing, and the hotel industry. This was especially helpful in the period of adjustment in the local gaming industry, when the gap between the revenue generated from the mass market and that from VIP rooms has been narrowing, Mr Leong added. The Secretary reiterated that the Government would strictly follow the principle of allowing a compound annual growth rate in new-to-market tables of no more than 3 percent for a 10-year period from 1 January 2013. Major considerations for table allocation on new projects include each project’s non-gaming elements; each project’s contribution to help transform Macao to a world centre of tourism and leisure; the scale of the non-gaming elements; and whether such elements could drive development of local small- and medium-sized enterprises, said Mr Leong. He added that the Government has been keeping close touch with the gaming sector, adding he believed the operators were aware of the procedures and timetable for approving table allocation applications.

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