Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng says the government has the mechanisms in place to handle any potential delays to the re-tendering of Macau gaming licenses, but there are currently no plans to delay the process beyond 2022.
The issue of license re-tendering was raised during a press conference following Ho’s 2021 policy address, delivered Monday, in which he confirmed the government would commence deployment and preparatory works for the retendering of gaming concessions next year.
Asked if there were concerns over lack of time with the licenses of all six concessionaires due to expire in June 2022, the Chief Executive said the government had already considered such a scenario.
“The SAR government would have relevant mechanisms to handle the situation,“ Ho said, before adding, “We still have time.”
However, his policy address did not provide any new details about the re-tendering process itself, with Ho stating only that the government will amend Macau’s gaming law by the second half of 2021 to allow re-tendering to proceed as scheduled. He also noted the need to consider the results of public consultation before moving forward.
On recovery from COVID-19, Ho said lessons had been learned as a result of the pandemic. While he expects the tourism and gaming industries to recover slowly, Macau’s over-dependence on the tourism and gaming industry had become more prominent in 2020, highlighting the significant risks that come with relying so heavily on gaming.
As a result, Ho reiterated the “urgent need” to explore and open a path of appropriate economic diversification and resist turning back to the old path of focusing so heavily on tourism and gaming.