Manuel Joaquim das Neves, the chief gaming regulator in Macau has played a key role in Macau’s anti-corruption crackdown as he has been the chief regulator of the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau since 1997 and a government servant from 1984. Neves recently announced that he plans to step down from his post as chief gaming regulator before the end of November as he wanted to give his attention to his family.
Neves has played a key role in developing and regulating the gambling industry in Macau and was part of the top brass who were responsible for liberalizing and organizing the gambling industry in Macau and helping it become the biggest gambling hub in the world. He was also responsible for bringing in the first foreign casinos into Macau and has played a key role in turning Macau into a gambling haven.
In a statement, Neves told the locals news channel “After 31 years as civil servant, 18 of which as Gaming Inspection Bureau director, I believe it’s time to take a break and spend more time with my family”. The Bureau has not yet announced who will be his replacement nor was there any indication as to who the frontrunners could be.
Whoever takes over the new post will be under lot of pressure as Macau’s gambling industry is in the midst of turmoil. Casinos have continued to lose revenue with every passing month and that would most likely mean a deficit for the government’s budget as Macau derives nearly 80 percent of its budget from the gambling industry.
Lawrence Ho, partner of the Melco Crown Limited who recently opened Studio City, a $3.2 million casino situated on the Cotai strip believes that Macau’s government will soon start relaxing their tough regulations on the gambling industry because Macau and its casinos cannot afford to continue to lose money as they have done during the last 18 months.
Beijing has made it clear that it has no plans to relax its stance on anti-corruption and has advised Macau to change its image from being a casino hub into a place that encourages tourism and education. The new gaming chief will play a key role in deciding whether the rules are relaxed or continued to be enforced.