Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On said on Tuesday his government will focus on eight aspects when carrying out a mid-term review of the city’s three gaming concessions and three sub-concessions this year.
According to the chief executive, the eight aspects are:
1) Impact of the development of the gaming industry on the local economy; 2) Its impact on local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs);
3) Its impact on civil society and residents’ livelihoods;
4) The interaction between the gaming and non-gaming sections of the gaming industry;
5) How the six operators have implemented their respective gaming contracts;
6) The state of the operators’ businesses;
7) The regulatory framework of the three concessions and three sub-concessions;
8) How the six operators carry out their corporate responsibility.
Chui also said that although the government has lowered the industry’s expected average gross gaming receipts to 20 billion patacas a month from 27.5 billion patacas, he was still confident about the development of the local gaming industry and its competitiveness.
The chief executive made the remarks during Tuesday’s Q&A session in the legislature’s hemicycle where he answered lawmakers’ questions about his 2015 Policy Address.
During the 3 1/2 hour plenary session with a 30-minute break, 28 lawmakers raised questions about various topics such as the gaming industry, public housing, public construction projects, labour affairs, and the high price of property. The Legislative Assembly has 33 members.
Regarding the future of the gaming industry Chui insisted that he was “cautiously optimistic”.
“We will also stay alert to possible risks that lie ahead… why have I said that we are optimistic about the gaming industry? The main reasons are: huge development projects in Cotai are due to be completed on schedule…the number of visitors continues growing and in 2014 there were a recorded 31.5 million visitors,” Chui said, adding that the revenues generated by the mass-market gambling segment continued to increase.
“The figures show that the city’s tourism and gaming industries are still competitive and they are already equipped to face the challenges ahead… we are optimistic about, and confident in their development,” Chui said.
Chui also told the lawmakers that the government has already commissioned a tertiary education institution to carry out a study on the city’s gaming concessions and sub-concessions. He said the findings would be taken into account in the government’s mid-term review this year, adding that the review would be focused on the eight aspects he mentioned earlier.
He also said that the government had improved its system of regulating financial reserves and its budget surplus was “quite good”, adding that the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) has about 560 billion patacas in financial reserves, budget surplus and foreign currency reserves.
Asked by directly-elected lawmaker-cum-businessman Zheng Anting about the construction of new border checkpoint facilities connecting Zhuhai and Ilha Verde, which will include a footbridge over the Duck Channel, Chui said the main body of the construction was projected to be completed next year.
He also said he hoped the central government will give the green light to a “new model” to be used at the Duck Channel checkpoint. He did not elaborate. (macaunews/macaupost)