The Macau government’s table cap is a measure that is outdated with the industry’s current growth and evolution, a Macau economist told local news.
In light of Macau’s 12th straight drop in gross gaming revenues, Albano Martins told Lusa that the government should be flexible in allowing operators to have more gaming tables than the three percent per year gaming table cap.
“The local government shouldn’t be locked into a policy that was designed when the gaming industry was going through a different kind of [growth] evolution.”
“A gaming table cap was established at that stage, but meanwhile the situation has changed, hence the government must change its policy, otherwise it will be complicated,” Martins was quoted as saying.
The gaming table cap was introduced in 2013 as a means of controlling the growth of gambling and to encourage operators to introduce more non-gaming activities to diversify the economy.
Then-Finance Secretary Francis Tam said in early 2013 that there were 5,500 gaming tables operating in 2012 and that the growth would be controlled by a cap of 3 percent yearly for at least 10 years. The current secretary Lionel Leong has reiterated this policy.
Albano Martins estimates that there will be 521 new tables distributed among several gaming operators by 2017, a number that is “insufficient and concerning,” given that the gaming companies plan to invest MOP160 billion ($20 billion) in development.
“At this time they want to have less VIP gambling and more mass-market, but the latter type of gaming is also done using tables,” Martins told Lusa.
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