Macau’s Chief Executive, Mr Ho Iat Seng, urged the city’s six gaming operators to root out any irregularity and reinvent their business models as the gaming industry was hitting rock bottom under the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, noting that the Chinese central government would continue to support Macau’s gaming sector only if local casinos strictly abided by the law and develop in a healthy way.
Mr Ho made the comments during a question-and-answer session at the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday (12 April) as several lawmakers raised concerns about the future of Macau’s gaming sector.
He pointed out that hard times were still ahead for local casinos due to the fresh wave of Covid-19 outbreaks that had gripped many major cities in mainland China. However, he told lawmakers that the gaming industry could make use of this opportunity to reform itself.
The Chief Executive also reiterated the government’s determination to do away with the city’s so-called “satellite casinos”, which are gaming venues controlled by independent investors but use the gaming licence of an existing casino concessionaire.
He explained that these satellite venues were not governed by Macau’s gaming law and therefore there was no legal basis for the authorities to supervise their operations.
According to the draft amendment to the gaming law, these satellite venues will be given a grace period of three years to tie the ownership of their gaming premises to any of the six concessionaires.
Mr Ho said he was confident that the industry would be able to sort out the issue of satellite casinos on their own during the three-year transition period.
He added that any gaming activity must be operated within the legal framework, underlining that VIP gaming rooms and junkets could survive as long as they strictly abided by all licensing regulations.