No plans to change planned deadline for gaming amendment approval, casinos to remain open

The Macau SAR government has no plans at the moment to change the current timeline to approve the general gaming law amendment despite the recent outbreak, Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong said today (Sunday).

Speaking in a special pandemic press conference held today, Lei stated that authorities will continue to “follow up the pandemic progression” and would consider special measures in case it worsens but that as of now the protected timeline would not be altered.

A total of 21 confirmed Covid-19 cases have been detected as of 4:00pm today (Sunday).

A 48-hour mass nucleic acid testing (NAT) drive started at 12:00pm, after at least 12 cases were initially confirmed in a suspected community outbreak labelled by authorities as the “most serious in the city so far”.

The final debate and voting of the gaming law amendment final had been officially set to take place at the Legislative Assembly (AL) at 3:00pm on June 21, a schedule now unlikely due to the recent outbreak.

Public government departments will be closed between Monday and Tuesday (June 20 and 21) except for those providing emergency and essential services, a Chief executive dispatch today revealed.

Macau SAR government authorities had previously stated intentions to approve the amendment before June 26, the original license expiration deadline for the city’s six gaming concessionaires.

The concessions are set to be extended on June 23 for an extra six months until December 31, 2022.

Inquired if the city’s casinos will be required to suspend operations, Lei responded they will, for now, continue with their previous required pandemic prevention measures of requesting temperature measurements.

The Secretary also presented a series of new financial support policies for residents and SMEs due to the worsening pandemic circumstances, including tax exemptions and rebates, representing a total of MOP10 billion in financial aid.