A majority of opinions collected during the public consultation on the proposed amendment to the SAR’s gaming law opposes the introduction of a vetting mechanism for the distribution of dividends among shareholders of casino operators. In the final report on the public consultation released today (Thursday), the Government assures that it will consider the worries expressed and the suggestions put forth on this matter during the 45-day consultation period, which lasted between September 15 and October 29.
“Most of the opinions collected during the consultation period disagree with the respective proposal, as they understand that establishing prior authorization from the Government constitutes a limitation that will interfere with the free market and may ward off the interest of concessionaires/sub-concessionaires in investing”, the public consultation report states.
Of those who expressed a stance on the proposed measure, 28 said they were against, while 18 supported the measure.
Another proposal which generated controversy was the introduction of a Government representative to the concessionaires. In this case, a majority of opinions collected are favourable to the move: 57 agreeing versus 38 against. The Government says it understands the perspective that a Government delegate in the companies may interfere in their activity and independence.
“In this sense, the Macau SAR Government will consider balancing the various interests and factors in order to reinforce the supervision of concessionaires/sub-concessionaires, without affecting the objective of the law amendment, which is to increase the competitiveness of the gaming sector.”
With regards to the number of concessionaires to be included in the new gaming law, a majority of opinions favours setting six as the number of concessions up from the current three, while most views are also in favour of the Government proposal to scrap the subconcession arrangement. This would be translated in keeping the de facto number of operators (currently 3 concessionaires plus 3 subconcessionaires).
In this respect, the Government indicates that keeping a certain size of the sector is important. “In the development process of the gaming sector, maintaining a certain size constitutes an important basis for guaranteeing social stability and employment of residents”.
The public consultation shows mixed views on the maximum length of the casino concessions: 42 per cent said it should be lower than the current 20 years; 32 per cent are in favour of keeping the current system, while 9,9 per cent want to see a longer period.
Here the Government noted that “the shortening of the concession period allows the Macao SAR greater opportunities to , depending on development trends and policies, timely and adequately adjust the gaming sector in due course in order to ensure the industry’s competitiveness”, the report states.