Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong Vai Tac said on Wednesday that the government’s mid-term gaming sector performance report wasn’t related to the renewal of the city’s gaming concessions, but rather to allow gaming operators to see what they can improve on.
Leong made the remarks during a press conference on the government’s mid-term evaluation report of the gaming sector’s performance.
Macau’s three gaming concessions and three sub-concessions will expire between 2020 and 2022.
The government has said previously that the six gaming operators are expected to develop more non-gaming facilities as part of their integrated resorts, and this would be one of the key points for consideration when deciding on the operators’ futures.
According to the 280-page report, gaming operators’ employees who were working in non-gaming elements accounted for 44 per cent of the workforce by 2014, adding that the non-gaming elements were able to generate an operating income of 23.2 billion in 2014.
Asked by the media whether the report would affect the government’s decision to renew the concessions, Leong insisted that the two were unrelated, but rather the report was to provide an opportunity for gaming operators to see what they should do to improve going forward.
The report concluded that the six gaming operators have fulfilled the commitments agreed in their initial agreements signed with the government over a decade ago.
The report also says that total non-gaming spending of visitors in Macau is “comparable” to that of Las Vegas.
However, according to the report, “the percentage is diluted as Macau’s gross gaming revenue is far too high”.
The report also underlines the industry’s negative impact, namely persistently high inflation, “putting stress on the daily life of the grassroots and the elderly people,” apart from an “acute rise in housing prices which made them unaffordable for the majority of the public”.
The report also acknowledges that the gaming industry is “challenging traditional values”.
On the positive front, the report singles out rapid gross domestic product (GDP) growth, increased fiscal reserves, improved social welfare, foreign investment at a record high, increased labour productivity and relatively low unemployment.
The report also points out that the six gaming operators have invested about 260 billion patacas in 13 years through 2014.
According to the report, the proportion of local employees holding managerial jobs in the gaming industry rose to 80 per cent in 2014 from 60 per cent in 2008.