Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong Vai Tac said in the legislature’s hemicycle Thursday that if the government revealed “prematurely” the details of its upcoming gaming concession bidding process in the run-up to the expiration of the city’s three gaming concessions and three sub-concessions, it would “adversely impact” the “healthy” development of Macau’s gaming industry in the future.
Leong, who oversees the city’s crucially important gaming industry, said that any “premature” announcement would allow other gaming destinations to adjust their gaming policies accordingly, which he said would make competition between Macau and other gaming hubs more “intense”.
Leong made the remarks when answering a question from directly-elected lawmaker-cum-unionist Leong Sun Iok, on the first day of a two-day Q&A session about his portfolio’s policy guidelines for next year.
Leong said in July that the government had not yet decided as to whether it would keep the current system of gaming sub-concessions.
Macau’s three gaming concessions and three sub-concessions will expire between 2020 and 2022.
According to Law 16/2001, a gaming concession usually cannot exceed 20 years.
Leong noted that, however, the gaming industry law allows the chief executive to extend gaming concessions for a maximum of five years under special circumstances.
Leong reaffirmed that once the gaming concessions and sub-concessions expire, a bidding process will be held rather than the government simply renewing the existing agreements.
Leong said that the government needed to be “cautious” about right timing to announce its decision on the city’s upcoming gaming concession bidding process.
Leong said the government would take various factors into account when considering the city’s gaming sector development, such as how the sector can become more competitive on the international stage.