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Changes in gaming influence in new Macau Legislative Assembly

With Typhoon Hato moving into the rearview mirror, the city’s Legislative Assembly elections – held last Sunday - have yielded some surprising results.

The democratic faction has emerged stronger, while the number of candidate groups associated with the gaming industry have increased from the previous election, resulting in fewer votes for each list. The direct result of this was the loss of a seat by Melinda Chan, wife of Macau Legend Holding’s David Chow Kam Fai.

Angela Leong On Kei, managing director of one of Macau’s casino concession holders – Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (SJM) – managed to secure a seat for her party. Ms. Leong has been influential in debating issues such as the smoking ban, in particular relating to VIP rooms, in the last term of the Legislative Assembly.

One of the primary surprises of the election was the choice of the head of the Golden Dragon property - located on the Macau peninsula nearby the Macau Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal – Chan Meng Kam, to not run. Two of the lists linked to Chan, the United Citizens Association of Macau and Macau Citizens Development Association – each earned a seat. This was, however, a reduction from his three-seat record-win last election for the list, in 2013.

The Casino Frontline Workers, representing the local industry workers and having recently participated in a number of demonstrations after the typhoon, failed to gain a seat.

The largest winner of the election was the list led by incumbent legislator Mak Soi Kun, also winning a seat for running-mate and incumbent legislator Zheng Anting, related to the Jiangmen community and with alleged ties to the junket sector.

While not a record year in terms of voter participation, the turnout was very strong, with pro-democratic candidates winning three votes as well as more seats for liberal-oriented candidates.

One of the gaming-sector-linked candidate lists abandoned the campaign before the elections.

In total, seven political organizations were directly or indirectly linked to the gaming sector.

In the election 14 legislators are directly elected, while 12 are indirectly elected from functional constituencies and seven are chosen by the Chief Executive.

The Chief Executive has 15 days to select the seven legislators, which could include candidates who did not gain seats in the direct election.

Asia Gaming Brief is a news and intelligence service providing up to date market information for worldwide executives on relevant gaming issues in Asia.

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