Secretary: Firm stance on Macao’s gaming and labour policies

Secretary for Economy and Finance, Mr Leong Vai Tac, meets with representatives of the relevant gaming operator .

The Government says it will not lightly change its policies on the gaming industry and on labour – policies that have been widely supported by the Macao public. The Government additionally noted that overseeing applications for gaming table allocation for the local casino sector and applications by companies for non-resident labour are executive legal powers of the Macao Government. The Government also expressed regrets over an opinion from a casino operator – reported by news media outside Macao – relating to the city’s gaming policy, said the Secretary for Economy and Finance, Mr Leong Vai Tac. In order to reiterate the Government’s stance and its principles on the gaming policy issue, the Secretary met with representatives of the relevant gaming operator on 18 October. The Director of the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, Mr Manuel Joaquim das Neves, also attended the meeting. Mr Leong noted that the gaming industry is the main pillar of Macao’s economy. He said the Government will work to optimise the regulations for the industry and urged operators to provide additional non-gaming elements in new projects. That is in order to help transform Macao to a world centre for tourism and leisure (known as the “World Centre” policy), said Mr Leong. The Secretary added that the Government has introduced fresh internal guidelines to the sector recently. They aim to strengthen monitoring of the gaming operators and gaming promoters, as part of the Government’s efforts to promote an adequate development of the sector and to enhance its competitiveness. The aims of promoting an adequate economic diversification for Macao and a moderate control of the pace of development for the gaming sector have the consensual support of Macao society and represent the direction the administration wishes to follow, he added. Regarding casino operators’ applications for gaming tables, Mr Leong stressed that the Government would strictly follow the principle of allowing a year-on-year average growth rate of no more than three percent before the year 2023. Criteria when considering table allocation for a new project include: the project’s non-gaming elements; whether the project could help to improve the industry’s competitiveness and contribute to the implementation of the “World Centre” policy; and if it could drive development of local small- and medium-sized enterprises, he said. Mr Leong stressed that non-resident workers were only to cover any shortfalls in local human resources. The Government has directed the gaming operators to provide on-the-job training to local workers in order to improve their upward job mobility. The Government will closely monitor the jobs market and provide assistance to residents in need of employment services. The Government has always maintained close contact with the gaming sector in terms of giving notice or clarification when launching new measures, Mr Leong said, adding the sector had shown respect, cooperation and compliance regarding public policy.

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