In Macau and Ho Iat Seng (pictured) reportedly used his maiden official address as the enclave’s new Chief Executive to pronounce that he will continue to push local casino operators to diversify their offerings so as to feature more non-gaming attractions.

According to a report from Inside Asian Gaming, Ho took over from like-minded predecessor Fernando Chui at the end of last year and made the revelation earlier today as part of a Legislative Assembly policy address. The 62-year-old leader purportedly also declared that he is looking to tighten regulations on junket firms and will carry on insisting that area casino firms offer even more mass-market entertainment so as to help Macau to become ‘the world center of tourism and leisure.’

Conservative course:

Inside Asian Gaming reported that the Macau-born legislator moreover insinuated that his administration is to pursue a cautious policy when it comes to growing the local casino market by concentrating on ‘sustainable development’ that closely considers ‘nearby areas and the global gaming industry’s development and policies.’

Tender ambiguity:

However, the speech from Ho reportedly featured little detail on the upcoming public tender that is set to determine who will be allowed to operate casinos in the city following the expiration of its current six concessions in the summer of 2022. The recently-installed leader was purportedly only willing to concede that the licensing process is not expected to start this year as the government is still ‘listening to public opinion’ in order to gain ‘practical experience’ that it intends to utilize in order to safeguard ‘better preliminary preparations for re-tendering.’

Ho reportedly proclaimed…

“The government is still working on further research regarding the new gaming concessions based on the previous mid-term review and will start the consultation externally. The legislative process will not finish this year so we won’t announce details about the re-tendering of gaming licenses this year.”

Travel target:

GGRAsia used its own report on the speech to detail that Ho furthermore intends to ask Beijing for permission to increase the number of communities eligible to take part in its Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) following the conclusion of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. This program purportedly began with four Guangdong Province cities in July of 2003 and allows mainland China residents to venture into Macau and Hong Kong without having to be part of a tour group.

Coronavirus recovery:

The IVS system has reportedly been extended several times since its inception and is now available to residents of some 49 mainland communities. Ho purportedly used his speech to proclaim that further expansion will help the tourism and gaming sectors of Macau to ‘overcome the difficulties caused by the pandemic’ and enable the city to ‘once again receive tourists and restore the vitality and dynamism of the market’.

Ho reportedly stated…

“The gaming and tourism sectors are the ones most affected by the pandemic and this impacts other related industries. With an aim to help recover the local tourism sector, we will, in due course, request the central government to resume the issuance of tourist visas for mainland residents to travel to Macau as well as to expand the issuance of individual tourist visas to more mainland cities. We also want to negotiate with Guangdong Province to loosen the policy of issuing tourist visas for its residents to travel to Macau.”