Secretary for Economy and Finance Francis Tam Pak Yuen said yesterday the government does not intend to raise the number of gaming concessions or sub-concessions.
Currently, there are three gaming concessions (SJM, Wynn, Galaxy) and three sub-concessions (Venetian, MGM and Melco Crown Entertainment).
The policy secretary also said that if the six gaming operators want to get more gaming-tables approved by the government, the easiest way was for them to put more effort in increasing the non-gaming elements in their gaming venues first. Tam hinted that those adding more non-gaming attractions would be rewarded by the government allowing them to run more gaming tables.
Tam made the remarks after attending the swearing-in ceremony of the new board members of the Macau Youth Entrepreneurs Association at Macau Tower.
Asked by reporters as to whether the government was considering a hike in the number of gaming concessions and sub-concessions, Tam said that the government had no such plan.
“Currently the government has not even thought about it,” Tam was quoted by The Macau Post Daily as saying. He added: “Over the past few years the government has reaffirmed its main idea that the gaming operators should increase the amount of non-gaming elements in their future development projects”
He also said that while the government planned to start reviewing the three concessions and three sub-concessions in 2015 or 2016, it had made it already very clear that it wants the six operators to raise their non-gaming elements in future development projects, based on what it thinks is the best future for the local gaming industry.
“For extra gaming tables to be licensed, the government will take into account the [portion] of non-gaming elements,” Tam said.
However, he also said that the government would not set a fixed ratio between the gaming and non-gaming elements for the six gaming operators to follow.
“The more [non-gaming elements] the better; if they [the six gaming operators] want to have more gaming tables they should put more effort into increasing their non-gaming elements – this is the easiest way,” Tam said.
The government has said that at the end of this year the ceiling on the city’s gaming tables will remain at 5,500, while after this year the annual growth in the number of gaming tables will not be allowed to exceed three percent in the next decade.
The three concessions and three sub-concessions expire between 2020 and 2022. SJM’s concession and MGM’s sub-concession expire in 2020. For everyone else, it’s 2022. (macaunews)