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Still cantering along

Macau Horse Racing Co. just had its operation contract extended despite a history of losses which is hard to explain from the standpoint of orthodox economics, according to an analyst

The concession period of Macau Horse Racing Company Ltd., which retains exclusive rights to operate horseracing betting in the Macau SAR, has been extended for another six months, the Official Gazette announced yesterday.
The period has been extended to February 28, 2018 from September 1, 2017.
According to previous reports, the company operating the Macau Jockey Club (MJC) had failed to make an annual profit for more than ten years, since 2005.
“When we look at the Jockey Club accounts, we cannot understand how it is possible that they have been reporting so much in losses and that shareholders continue to maintain interest in such a company,” local economist Albano Martins told Business Daily.
The company recorded losses of MOP4.07 billion for the financial year ended December 2016, according to information published in the Official Gazette on July 19.
Total liabilities of the company amounted to some MOP1.31 billion over the period.
For the economist, it is “difficult” to comprehend why the Macau SAR Government, in the light of China’s public concerns about “fighting corruption and money laundering practices,” has authorised that concessionaires which “operate and conduct activities on public land, systematically hide their accounts” and do not have their accounts “published in detail.”
“This is all very grey, very opaque. It is not transparent,” he argued.

Anima after Hato
Martins, who also heads the Society for the Protection of Animals (Anima), said that a casino operator has pledged to help them in their efforts to repair the Association’s facilities following Typhoon Hato’s battering of Macau on August 23.
He explained that the operator had already sent one of its construction companies to “have a look at the current damage,” adding, however, that he did not know how long it would take for them to proceed with the necessary repairs.
“We’re struggling to find someone because we don’t have enough labour force in Macau,” he claimed.
Martins suggested that in “exceptional situations” such as catastrophe and natural disasters, the government should consider applying “exceptional measures.”
“In a situation of exception such as the one with Hato, I think the government should have allowed [Mainland] Chinese companies to come to Macau to do business on a temporary basis, for a few months.”

OPINION

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