No change in table cap policy, Lionel Leong says

Macau Secretary of Economy and Finance, Lionel Leong addressed the Legislative Assembly on Thursday, Nov. 26th as part of a five-hour Q&A session, during which he announced that a mid-term review of the gaming industry would be published at the beginning of 2016. The review will include an evaluation of how the city’s six gaming operators’ have conducted their business, the jobs created, the promotion of local residents and the development of non-gaming elements.

After 17 consecutive months of gaming revenue slump, many lawmakers inquired about future gaming prospects, with Zheng Anting arguing that gaming table allocation should be awarded to operators that follow the government’s directives. Leong said the table cap policy would remain unchanged: “For the ten years onwards from 2013, the increase of the gaming tables is limited to three percent [of compound annual expansion]. This never changes.” He also explained how the tables would be allocated: “As in this year, for the granting of gaming tables we considered the non-gaming elements that the gaming companies have offered; how they helped the small and medium companies here and their development of the mass gaming segment. The allocation of gaming tables will depend on whether their proposals meet our direction towards the world center of tourism and leisure. It’s not that every casino operator will have three percent more gaming tables.”.

When attention was drawn to the aftermath of the Dore Scandal and other related incidents, particularly in the VIP sector, Leong reiterated the need to revise related laws and strengthen oversight. However, in response to suggestions made by local VIP gaming operators suggesting the blacklisting of gamblers with a history of reneging on gaming debts, Leong drew attention to current data protection laws in place. “We have to have a more stringent monitoring of the VIP gaming operators here, while keeping them internationally competitive,” Mr. Leong said, “But regarding your suggestion of blacklisting gamblers, I have to remind you that it will involve the personal data protection law. The operators will have to have a very strong communication with the related departments.”

The Q&A session continues on Friday, Nov. 27th, 2015.