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Macau to enforce gaming policies and regulations

07 April 2015

Policy makes in Macau have convened earlier in March this year, to address certain aspects of the Macau Casino industry. The preliminary outcome of the official government discussions, was perhaps not as positive for top casino operations and the broad international investment community within the industry. Macau Chief Executive Fernando Chui told lawmakers in March 2015, that the Special Administrative Region had entered an adjustment period of slower and stable growth. Fernando Chui, who has been the region’s chief executive since 2009, had committed himself to enforce regulations on the gaming industry when casino license renewals start taking place in the next few years.

Part of the policy review will be focused on the major six gaming license holders including, Las Vegas Corporation, Wynn Gaming Resorts, and MGM Resorts International and how they have been conducting business since the Stanley Ho’s monopoly ended in 2002. Part of the review is for the Macau government to look at the development of non-gaming attractions, the creation of jobs and the promotion of Macau residents within each mentioned gaming related company. Chui mentioned in his policy address that government will strive to adjust the pace without changing the momentum, seeking and maintaining stable growth amid adjustments.

In 2014, the Chinese authorities began crack down operations on corruption in Macau casinos, focusing on high end baccarat players. Gaming revenues have declined in nine months straight, including the month of March 2015. The Macau economy saw a fall in the economy of 17%, while Gaming revenue saw a low in 2.6 %. This shows a first time year on year market decline for Macau. Next year, Macau will impose a full ban on smoking inside all public areas, including casinos. Analysts believe that the partial casino smoking ban contributed to the revenue decline. Currently, smoking is banned on mass market floors, but permitted in VIP areas. The full ban could add to the high-end revenue losses. It is clear that Macau policy makers want to create a healthy and conducive environment for travelers, visitors and residents of Macau and to strike a balance between tourism and the quality of life for Macau citizens.

The change of direction for Wynn Resorts International, Las Vegas Sands and MGM Resorts to move forward on multi-billion dollar hotel casino projects in Macau’s Cotai Strip region is favored by policy makers and are expected to open in 2016. Executives have highlighted the non-gaming elements the new resorts would be bringing to the overall market.

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