Macau: Government says no more casino concessions to be granted

23 April 2008

Macau, China, 23 Sept – The Chief Executive of Macau, Edmund Ho, said Tuesday that no more concessions would be granted to open casinos in Macau and that restrictions would be placed on increasing the number of gaming tables and slot machines.

Ho, who was speaking at the Macau Legislative Assembly, said, however, that projects that had already been approved would be maintained.

The head of the government also said that the new reclaimed land areas planned in Macau “will not be used for new casinos.”

“Gaming liberalisation (in 2004) had many benefits, namely an increase in public revenue (…) but it is necessary to have greater control over the sector in order to increase the permanent security of Macau’s economy,” Ho said.

There are currently 29 licensed casinos in Macau belonging to three concessionaires and three sub-concessionaires.

The secretary for the Economy and Finance, Francis Tam said meanwhile that in future the number of casinos in Macau would not exceed 40.

Tam told Portuguese news agency Lusa that just one more casino would be approved on the Macau peninsula and the remainder would be located in the reclaimed land area between the islands of Taipa and Coloane, which ahs been earmarked for construction of casinos, hotels and entertainment venues.

At the end of the first quarter, Macau’s casinos had 4,311 gaming tables and 13,552 in operation, which according to the measures just announced will have to be “away from residential areas.”

Revenues from gaming and gambling activities in Macau rose 62 percent in the first quarter, as compared with the same period of 2007, reaching 30.085 billion patacas (US$2.76 billion). In 2007 gross revenues totalled 83.8 billion patacas.

Macau posted a budget surplus of For 10.109 billion patacas in the first quarter of 2008, with revenues exceeded 13 billion patacas, which was almost a third of projected revenue for the year.

Ho also told the Legislative Assembly that the Macau government would distribute 2.38 billion patacas (US$297.5 million) to the 527,000 residents of Macau to “reduce” the effects of inflation on household income.

He said that in July each permanent resident of Macau would receive 5,000 patacas (US$625) and each non-permanent resident would receive 3,000 patacas (US$375).

The Macau government recently announced the concession of 814 million patacas to fight the effects of inflation, namely through a monthly subsidy on electricity tariffs, subsidies to the neediest people and salary bonuses to low income families. (macauhub)