Macau Government Conducting Interim Review of Five-Year Development Plan

Posted on: September 25, 2018, 03:00h. 

Last updated on: September 25, 2018, 08:57h.

The Macau government decided last week that it will conduct an interim review of the Special Administrative Region’s (SAR) current five-year development plan, with the goal of better preparing officials to formulate the enclave’s next economic scheme.

Macau casinos economy gambling
Macau Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On will personally oversee a review of the enclave’s plan to grow its economy, which heavily relies on the gaming industry. (Image: Macau Business)

Macau’s first Five-Year Development Plan was initiated in 2016 and runs through 2020. Among its goals are to grow the economy, improve quality of life and education, strengthen the government, better protect the environment, and increase the regulatory efficiency of the region’s tourism and leisure sectors.

The Committee for Development of the World Centre of Tourism and Leisure will conduct the review. The committee is headed by Macau Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On.

Macau Future

The richest gambling hub on planet Earth, Macau’s economy is rooted heavily on its gaming industry.

The enclave’s six licensed casino operators will begin to see their concessions expire in 2020, with MGM China and SJM Holdings first up. Sands, Wynn, Galaxy Entertainment, and Melco Resorts’ permits are scheduled to terminate two years later in 2022.

Little is known as to what, if any, changes will come during the renewal process. SJM CEO Ambrose So, whose company held a monopoly on Macau gaming for decades until commercial operators were welcomed in 2002, wants clarification.

Along with seeking a two-year extension to put all six companies in the same renewal time period, So said the Macau government should “put forward certain criteria in terms of renewal of the contracts.”

Macau fell under the scrutiny of the People’s Republic of China when President Xi Jinping put junket groups, or VIP touring companies that transport wealthy mainlanders to the enclave to gamble on credit with, under his anti-corruption campaign.

Moving forward, SAR officials want casinos to become less reliant on gambling. Macao Government Tourism Office Director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes said in May at the G2E Asia conference that the goal is to get resorts to achieve 40 percent of their revenue from nongaming operations.

Tourism & Leisure, Not Gaming, Hub

China’s crackdown on junkets led to gross gambling revenue falling from a record high of $45 billion in 2013, to $27.9 billion in 2016. In response, the multibillion-dollar integrated resorts began catering to more of the mass market. SAR officials want that to continue.

During his announcement of the original five-year development plan, Chui declared, “We will encourage gaming operators to engage more in large-scale tourism projects that will help diversify the sector by offering more leisure activities and non-gaming elements.”

The mission is to turn Macau into a “World Center of Tourism and Leisure.”

Many of Macau’s casino operators aren’t only focused on the future of the enclave. Japan recently legalized three commercial integrated casino resorts, and Melco, MGM, and Wynn are among those that have already submitted plans for a development in Yokohama.