he Secretary for Economy and Finance, Francis Tam, previously indicated that the government aimed to remove all slot machines, including ones outside of casinos.
The group gathered signatures and called upon the government to fulfill its promise and remove slot machine parlours from residential communities.
The president of one of the neighborhood associations, Chu Hou Yuen, fears that security in his community would be worsened if parlours were established: “Things have become more complicated and residents are voicing dismay.” The law states that the whole building where the parlour is located has to be non-residential, which makes it very difficult for operators to find venues in new districts.
However, Chu is concerned that, given the amount of old buildings in the older districts that usually only have a few units in them, parlour operators can easily purchase or rent the whole building and introduce more parlours into the community. He is urging the government to review the regulation as soon as possible and move all slot machines parlours to the Cotai region in order to reduce opportunities for local residents to participate in gambling activities.
Chu’s call for the government to reassess the law is echoed by Mok Wai Seng, a member of the government’s Central District Advisory Committee for Community Services. Mok said that he is concerned with the operation of the slot machine parlour at the original site of the Guangzhou Grand Hotel. He pointed out that the gambling venue is very close to social facilities such as a school and health centre, which is likely to have a long-term negative effect on senior residents and students.