Public to be consulted on casino concessions later this year

Tuesday 21st April 2020

The Chief Executive offered little information regarding the matter of the upcoming gaming concessions negotiations yesterday, but stated that the government would launch a public consultation in the second half of the year.

The current casino agreements with Macau's six concessionaires are due to expire in June 2022. Aside from a suspected requirement that the new concessions will come with diversification written into the contracts, very little information has yet been confirmed by the government.

Yesterday, Ho said that he administration headed by his predecessor, Chui Sai On, had commissioned a mid-term assessment on the city's casino market, operation and development. More work is being done in this area at present, according to the current Chief Executive.

He also revealed that given the importance of the legal framework supervising casino operations, the general public would have a stake.

"Public consultation will be organized as part of the legislation," he assured. "This is a long procedure and will not be concluded this year."

As a consequence, the casino concession question has been largely omitted from this year's policy address.

In addition, online gambling is still being studied, the Chief Executive said. The practice has become a topic for discussion in the public, as Covid-19 has greatly diminished visitor arrivals in Macau.

Meanwhile, Ho said he has no plan at present to review the gaming revenue tax system, even during the economic downturn brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

"It has been only three months," said Ho. "Our casino operations are tough enough to hang on." AL

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