The director of Macau’s gaming regulator DICJ Paulo Martins Chan is cautiously optimistic that the market will bounce back from its current woes. He made these comments on the sidelines of the three-day trade event MGS Entertainment Show 2019 at The Venetian Macao. His term as the director was expanded by one year last week.
Could the city resurge?
As the head of the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, he said that the gross gaming revenue (GGR) of the city’s casino industry is volatile. However, he said that it is within a normal range, as the decline seen in the VIP sector is being outweighed by the mass-market gains. He said on Tuesday,
“Macau’s gaming revenue is fluctuating, but not to a big extent – which should be normal. We believe that the [aggregate] GGR [for 2019] will not show a big difference when compared to last year.”
The aggregate GGR of Macau based casinos for 10 months ending October 31, 2019, was US$30.6 billion. It marked a 1.8% slump in GGR on a year-on-year basis. The third quarter disappointed the sector as VIP GGR slid by 22.5% on a year-on-year basis.
What is the regulator expecting?
Talking about why he feels that the market will be in good shape, Chan pointed out that the mass market is growing in the city. He said that the segment is performing much better than the VIP sector, which has rocked the boat in recent months. The mass-market could keep the industry in a stable situation which is an “optimistic prospect.”
He also said that the DICJ is focusing on improving the city’s gaming regulation that could promote the healthy development of the industry. This would include new regulations for the junket sector. The regulation is currently in draft stage and Chan did not give a timeline as to when it could be presented to the Legislative Assembly of the city. He said that the legislation is an ongoing work and will be announced when ready. However, he notified that the new law would raise the standards of background checks on junket businesses. It will also improve the oversight of their capital resources.
Ho Iat Seng, the executive-designate of the Macau chief, noted in September that the city’s gaming law framework is a crucial task for the government. It is known as Law 16/2001 and may include new provisions on the number of gaming licenses the city can issue after June 2022. The current licenses will expire by this date, and the city could take a fresh look at applications. Commentators also suggest that the law could discuss the abolition of the ongoing sub-concession system.