Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong Vai Tac said Thursday there was no possibility “at this moment” of allowing the embattled Macau (Yat Yuen) Canidrome Co. Ltd. the operator of the city’s greyhound racetrack, to use the Fai Chi Kei property for an additional period of time, for the company to finally vacate the plot of land late next month.
Leong made the remarks while speaking to reporters after attending a closed-door meeting of the legislature’s Follow-up Committee for Land and Public Concession Affairs, the members of which discussed with government officials the Macau Jockey Club’s (MJC) horse-racing concession, which earlier this year was extended by the government for 24 years.
The Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) said in a statement on Monday that it was studying a proposal submitted by the greyhound racetrack operator last week about its relocation plan for the dogs.
The racetrack reportedly houses about 650 greyhounds.
According to the Monday statement, the racetrack company submitted the proposal last Friday, which includes adoptions and also relocating the greyhounds to somewhere outside Macau “in collaboration with organisations on the mainland”.
In July 2016, the government told the racetrack operator to vacate the property in Fai Chi Kei, a public land concession, within two years. The company’s concession to run greyhound racing will expire on July 20. The company is headed by gaming executive-cum-lawmaker Angela Leong On Kei, the number-four wife of retired nonagenarian gaming mogul Stanley Ho Hung Sun.
According to the proposal submitted last Friday, the company wants to use the Fai Chi Kei racetrack for three additional months, to give it more time to relocate the dogs, including moving some of them to available spaces in the stables at the Taipa horse-racing venue run by the Macau Jockey Club, which Leong also heads, and housing them there temporarily, according to the Monday statement.
Speaking to reporters, Lionel Leong said that the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) has not received any application from the greyhound racetrack operator for permission to use the Fai Chi Kei property for an additional time, nor an application for permission to move some of the greyhounds to the MJC Taipa racecourse.
Lionel Leong stressed that the government already told the company two years ago to vacate the Fai Chi Kei racetrack next month, adding that “at this moment I do not see any possibility” of extending the period for the company to continue to use the property.
Lionel Leong also said that how the Taipa horse-racing venue can be used is regulated by the MJC horse racing agreement signed with the government.
The policy secretary overseeing the gaming industry also said that the government could only assess whether it might allow the dog-racing operator to relocate greyhounds to the MJC Taipa racecourse after receiving an application concerning the matter which so far hasn’t happened.