International edition
July 25, 2021

Fernando Chui has promised to diversify Macau's economy

New Macau leader sparks speculation on casinos

(Macau).- There is growing speculation of a casino revival in Macau with the election of a new leader, Fernando Chui. It is expected that Chui will smooth relations with mainland China thereby paving the way for new policies on the gambling zone and lifting visa restrictions on mainland visitors.

T

he election result comes as no surprise given Chui was the only candidate. His endorsement was merely a formality by the 300 member selection committee loyal to Beijing. Chui is due to take office on 20 December 2009 for a five year term and replace CEO Edmond Ho.

Macau is the only place in China where casinos are legal and they previously enjoyed explosive growth. Prior to 2009, Macau's gambling revenue had been sharply rising with an impressive average of 27 % during each of the past four years.

However, Macau's casinos began to suffer heavy losses last year as a result of travel restrictions placed on visitors from mainland China who are their main source of business. According to the government, the number of guests dropped 21.8 % in June 2009 compared to June 2008.

Unsurprisingly, casino revenue slumped 12 % in the second quarter of 2009 from a year earlier. Loss of casino jobs drove Macau's unemployment to a two year high.

Chui has promised to diversify Macau's economy so that it is not so dominated by and dependent upon the revenue of the gambling industry and casinos. It is also anticipated that Chui will improve regulations within the gambling industry.

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