Macau continues to open tender for new gambling concessions despite pandemic
Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance said today that the government will continue legislative work for the renewal of casino concessions next year, which will end in 2022 despite the pandemic.
The secretary for Economy and Finance, Lei Wai Nong, who is today in the Legislative Assembly to present and discuss the Governmental Action Lines (LAG) for 2021 in the areas under his tutelage, said that the executive will proceed with “the work of opening of the competition to award new concessions for the allocation of games of chance ”.
The Government should present next year the specifications for the concessionaires to prepare for the public tender scheduled for 2022, when the current concessions come to an end.
But on November 12, days before the executive introduced the LAGs, game analysts defended Lusa to postpone the public tender for the new gaming licenses in Macau, due to the impact of the covid-19 pandemic, which severely affected the economy of the world capital of casinos, with gaming operators in the territory presenting hundreds of millions of euros in losses in the third quarter of the year.
In the first 10 months of the year, casino losses were 81.4%, compared to the same period last year, due to the sanitary situation, which led to strong border restrictions. It was not until the end of September that visa issuance across mainland China to Macao was resumed.
In the presentation document of the LAGs, the Government wrote that, “due to the expiry of the concession contracts for the exploitation of games of chance in casino, in June 2022, work will be carried out continuously to opening of the competition to award new concessions for the exploitation of games of chance in a casino ”.
The executive also stated that he will encourage “concessionaires and sub-concessionaires of games of chance” to “broaden non-gambling related activities”.
Impact of Covid-19
The Secretary for Economy and Finance today recalled the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on the territory, stating that “the global objectives in the area of Economy and Finance are the stabilization of the economy [and] the maintenance of employment”, in addition to “prevention and control of the pandemic and the resumption of economic activities ”.
To that end, the minister said that the executive wants to diversify the economy, strongly dependent on tourism and casinos, betting particularly on the pharmaceutical industry, in the area of traditional Chinese medicine.
“A single industry gives rise to a single source of employment. For this reason, we need to urgently promote the diversification of the economy to gradually overcome the problem of the predominance of a single industry in our GDP [Gross Domestic Product] ”, he pointed out, recalling that 75% of the territory’s revenues come from game industry.
Lei Wai Nong also announced the strengthening of public investment in the economy, with 18.5 billion patacas (1.95 billion euros) for public works, next year.
Macau has diagnosed 46 cases of covid-19 since the end of January, having no registered community transmission, nor currently having any active cases.
The covid-19 pandemic caused at least 1,422,951 deaths resulting from more than 60.4 million cases of infection worldwide, according to a report made by the French agency AFP.
The disease is transmitted by a new coronavirus detected in late December 2019 in Wuhan, a city in central China.
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