Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lei Wai Nong, said Wednesday, when commenting on the recent discussion concerning the future of the Macau Jockey Club, that “operators must perform their obligations strictly in accordance with the requirements of the law and the concession contract”.

A recent TDM Canal Macau report indicated that Macau’s sole horse racing betting operation could shutter as early as December, with employees possibly being made redundant afterward.

The MJC has neglected to provide comment on the progress of alleged works it has pledged under its MOP1.5 billion ($185.65 million) redevelopment plan – the basis for which it was given a new concession back in 2018, running until 2042.

The horse racing operator committed to investing the MOP1.5 billion ($190 million) in stages to upgrade existing facilities and develop non-gaming offerings. These plans included constructing new commercial areas and restaurants, two hotel blocks, two apart-hotel blocks, a theme park, a tennis court, and an equestrian school. Some of these projects are expected to be completed by 2024, while others are scheduled until 2026.

Following weeks of public discussion surrounding its future, authorities approved the 2023/2024 race season schedule for Macau Jockey Club this month.

Speaking on the sidelines of an event on Wednesday, Secretary Lei only referred that he would refrain “commenting on market rumors” and that the Gaming Inspection and Co-ordination Bureau (DICJ) would carry out its regulatory work for the involved concession “in accordance with relevant legal provisions”, Chinese newspaper Macau Daily news reported.

No estimates yet

Lei also rejected to make any prediction for the year’s estimated total gross gaming revenue for the city’s casino sector, with previous government estimates placing the possible total between MOP180 billion ($22.45 billion) and MOP200 billion ($24.8 billion).

Macau’s casino GGR stood at MOP114 billion ($14.1 billion) for the first eight months of the year, an increase of 295 percent from a year earlier. The tally represents only 39 percent of the MOP292.4 billion ($36.1 billion) generated in GGR during 2019.

Macau-GGR-QOQ-2023, Macau Jockey Club, concession contract

“There are annual indicators, requirements, accounting, and review mechanisms in place. As for this year, there are still several months left, and the overall gambling revenue for the year is not being assessed at the moment. The focus is on taking steady steps and effectively carrying out the related work. The concessionaires have made commitments to the SAR government to invest in accordance with the contract’s requirements and uphold the spirit of the agreement,” Lei noted.

Under their new 10-year concessions, which commenced January 1st, the gaming companies have already pledged to spend in aggregate MOP108.7 billion ($13.5 billion) on non-gaming and exploring overseas tourist markets. The figure comprises more than 91 percent of their total pledged investment under the 10-year licenses.

The six gaming operators will be required to increase non-gaming investment by around 20 percent of their initial pledge if Macau’s annual gross gaming revenue reaches MOP180 billion ($22.45 billion) by 2027.

Lei pointed out that from January to August this year, the Macau SAR has reported 17.64 million inbound tourists, with consumption, entertainment performances, conventions, and holiday events continuing to show “positive growth trends”, ensuring that the “off-peak season is not weak.”

“It is hoped that there will be good results by the end of the year, and plans for next year, especially the “1+4″ initiatives, expanding overseas visitor sources and increasing public investments,” the Secretary added.