International edition
June 20, 2021

The measure stirred up a political storm with Beijing

Turnaround on new table count method badly received by operators in Macau

(Macau).- The government’s decision to cancel a new way of accounting for poker and mahjong tables under the general table cap of 5,500 live table games has been poorly received by gaming operators.

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usiness Daily reported that at least Sands China and Wynn Macau already had plans to invest in poker development in Macau under the new table count policy.

Last week, a government source contacted by the English-language newspaper had confirmed that if a casino was operating up to 20 poker tables in the same area, the regulator would count them as only one table. The same source added that the same happened for mahjong tables.

Chinese-language newspaper Macau Daily News yesterday quoted the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau as saying such a policy does not exist. However, several gaming industry sources contacted by Business Daily said otherwise, adding that the government only decided to do a U-turn on the new counting method once it was reported in the media.

That stirred up a political storm as the Macau government had pledged to Beijing that the number of live gaming tables here would not go over 5,500 until next year, one source said. A source at Sands China told Business Daily the company would probably not invest the us$ 5 million it had planned in developing poker. On the contrary, Sands China “may remove poker altogether as it’s not an optimal use of table count,” the source said.

Sources among the casino operators told the newspaper they could not understand the U-turn, considering that poker and mahjong are regarded as “social games” of “insignificant value” to casinos.

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