The Secretary for Economy and Finance, Leong Vai Tac, told reporters yesterday that there was no specific regulation in Macau currently enabling the government to order a blanket suspension of casino operations in the city.
In view of the adverse weather conditions caused by Typhoon Mangkhut, gaming operations in all of Macau’s casinos were suspended from 11 p.m. on September 15. Gaming operations resumed at 8 a.m. on September 17.
In a bid to minimize the impact of Typhoon Mangkhut, the civil protection management team recommended suspending the city’s casino operations to ensure the safety of casino employees, visitors to the city and residents. The recommendation was approved by the Chief Executive and agreed by the city’s six gaming concessionaires and sub-concessionaries.
Leong said the temporary suspension of casino operations was a result of the ongoing cooperation between the government and the city’s gaming operators.
Meanwhile, Leong said he hoped gaming operators would streamline the process of suspension and resumption of casino operations in the event of a public emergency.
On Wednesday, the New Macau Gaming Staff Rights Association also called for a mandatory suspension of casino operations during strong typhoons.
The government said that it will heed opinion from the public and from members of the Legislative Assembly regarding the potential introduction of a mandatory city-wide suspension of casino operations during public emergencies.
On Monday, the Secretary for Security, Wong Sio Chak, also said that the government had yet to consider such mandatory casino closures.
According to Wong, Macau does not have a law requiring casinos to close during strong typhoons. The gaming concession contract also does not stipulate casino closures during emergencies.
Such a provision is, however, included in a government proposal to overhaul Macau’s civil protection system. A public consultation on the proposal was concluded in August.