The government will renew the horse racing concession of the Macau Jockey Club for six months while it reviews a development plan for the site’s future, as recently submitted by the company.
The extension, which lasts until February 28, comes just as the Jockey Club’s license was due to expire at the end of this month.
According to Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong, who spoke to reporters on the sidelines of a plenary session at the Legislative Assembly this week, the development plan includes a long-term vision for the Taipa-based race track and a renovation of its grandstand.
The Secretary said that the government will assess the feasibility of the plan before sending it to the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau for further review. It will also collect opinions from other relevant public departments.
Although Leong could not disclose the details of the plan, because it involves various government entities, he is confident that the six-month extension will be sufficient for the government to make a judgement about the development plan.
Leong also said that the plan outlines how the company intends to help diversify the city’s gaming industry and help Macau develop into a world tourism and leisure centre.
The diversification of the MSAR’s industries is a Beijing-mandated objective for the city’s local government. The intention is to develop parallel industries, rather than sub-categories within the gambling industry.
The Jockey Club has been posting annual losses since 2004 and has accumulated a deficit exceeding MOP4 billion.
The company responsible for operating the Jockey Club facility reported an accumulated loss of about MOP4 billion at the end of last year.
Leong comments on AMCM change
Lionel Leong has commented on the appointment of a new Monetary Authority of Macau (AMCM) director, stating that it was part of regular personnel changes in the public administration. Leong added that since the MSAR’s financial sector has entered a new development stage, the authorities needed to keep up with new trends and emerging industries. The term of the current AMCM chairman, Benjamin Teng, ends on August 25. Teng will be replaced by Benjamin Chan, who also serves on IACM’s board of directors. Chan’s term as Chairman will run from 26 August 2017 to 25 August 2018.