The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has called on Macau’s government to use the expiration of the SAR’s six gaming concessions in the next three years to strengthen regulations promoting non-VIP tourism while improving basic tourism infrastructure.
In its Mission Concluding Statement following a recent visit to Macau, published on Monday, the IMF noted the city’s strong fiscal position on the back of its gaming industry but called for higher public investment and social spending to foster inclusion and a medium to long-term fiscal framework to ensure “judicious and efficient use of gaming-dependent fiscal resources”.
More specifically, the IMF said that, “Diversification policies should be guided by careful study of Macau SAR’s comparative advantage.
“With all six gaming concessions expiring in 2020 and 2022, the authorities have the opportunity to further advance their growth strategy and should craft the new regulations with stronger incentives for operators to expand non-VIP tourism,” it said.
“In addition, to accommodate the higher number of tourists under a mass-market and non-gaming model, infrastructure plans should advance in order to ease supply-side bottlenecks. Some of these areas are expanded entertainment, convention and exhibition options, hotels and retail, including via integrated resorts and family-oriented facilities.”
The IMF also called for an “upgraded regulatory framework” surrounding Macau’s junket industry, having previously assessed the SAR’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorism Financing (CTF) in 2016.
“The assessment report recognized Macau SAR’s progress in enhancing AML/CFT framework, including on preventive measures and supervision of the gaming sector, while noting the need for more improvements,” it said.
“Since the evaluation, Macau SAR has intensified efforts to limit the number of junket promoters, which could be supported by an upgraded regulatory framework to promote robust AML/CFT controls by junket promoters.”