Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong Vai Tac said on Saturday that while the statistics for July’s gross gaming revenue are not available yet, he estimated that the figure will not exceed 18.355 billion patacas ( US$ 2.294 billion), the so-called “red line” set by the government for austerity measures to be put in place.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a youth employment fair at Macau Tower, Leong said the government would initiate austerity measures if the gross gaming revenue for this month falls below 18.355 billion patacas, adding he would have a meeting with Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On early next month if this happens.
“Based on the figures over the last 20-plus days, we can see that the gaming revenue for this month is expected to be lower than 18 billion patacas, so this means that it won’t reach the benchmark of 18.355 billion patacas,” said Leong. “So if the revenue doesn’t reach 18.355 billion patacas, we have to launch austerity measures.”
Leong also said that in the last few years, gaming revenues for July always exceeded those in June by about a billion patacas, adding that the same could not be said for this year.
“Compared to June [this year], the increase will not be over a billion patacas,” he said. Last month’s gross gaming revenue stood at 17.355 billion patacas, according to official statistics.
However, the policy secretary said the government had still to monitor casinos’ revenues to see whether they increase in the final few days of the month.
This month’s casino revenue statistics are slated to be published by the Gaming Inspection and Co-ordination Bureau (DICJ) next Monday.
He also said he was optimistic about Macau’s employment prospects, noting that many companies not related to the gaming industry still have job vacancies. Leong added that Macau’s unemployment rate was still lower than nearby regions.
The officially estimated unemployment rate stood at 1.8 percent in May.
The government has previously stated that austerity measures will only affect its own entities, pledging that social services will remain untouched.