Earlier this month, Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau announced that it will be retaining its current Chief of Gaming, Andriano Marques Ho. According to the statement, Ho took up the position for DIJC in June 2020 and has had his contract extended for a further two years. Although Ho had only intended to be employed in this capacity for a year, the DIJC has identified the current Chief of Gaming as vital to the upcoming gaming license review and renewal.
Adriano Marques Ho is the successor of Paulo Martins Chan. Chan served in the position for a total of five years before leaving the DIJC to resume his work as a public prosecutor. Before FIJC, How served as an advisor to the Macau Secretary for Security. Ho has been awarded a law degree by the University of Science and Technology of Macau. Prior to working for the Secretary for Security’s office, Ho was employed by the Macau Judiciary Police. He was tasked with leading the force that deals with gaming-related crimes and offences.
The recently announced contract extension serves as a testament to governmental leaders in Macau’s commitment to Ho being the perfect man to handle the Chinese Special Administrative Region’s (SAR) upcoming casino tender, review and renewal process.
In June next year, the six licensed gambling operators who are currently operating in Macau will see their gaming licensing expire. While the Sands, Wynn, MGM, Melco, SJM and Galaxy are all expected to see renewals and fresh gaming tenders, Macau’s Legislative Assembly has been actively reviewing specific aspects of its gaming and gambling industry for several years.
Macau’s governmental structure is similar to only one other region of China, Hong Kong. It operates under China’s principle of one country with two systems. China’s People of Republic has granted Macau, the SAR, a significant degree of governing autonomy. However, China handles all foreign affairs and defence for Macau. Aside from this, the enclave governs itself.
Despite this, Macau’s government has done its best to please Beijing, unlike Hong Kong which recently rallied regarding an extradition bill. On the other hand, Macau has gone out of its way to appease the president of the People’s Republic, Xi Jinping. Xi is committed to ensuring that China’s mainlanders don’t take their hard-earned cash to gamble overseas.
As a result, China has enforced strict regulations and rules regarding cross-border gambling. This does not mean that President Xi is cracking down on Macau but it does entail Macau keeping a keen eye on operations with a special focus on VIP venues and gamblers.
As a result of the turbulent events of last year, many industry experts have assumed that gambling operators in Macau would be privy to an extension of their gaming tenders. This is made even more likely by Macau’s gambling policy and process which could allow for a one-time extension. Last December, an industry analyst stated that Macau’s government and officials had their hands full with the economic recovery of the enclave and that gaming operators would likely have their gaming licenses extended beyond 2022. Others have stated that they believe the licenses will be extended until 2025.
Last year’s election of Joe Biden has improved these chances for the three American operators in Macau. However, two of the operators, Wynn and Sands, were founded by individuals who were supporters of the previous US president, Donald Trump. The relationship between Trump and China soured significantly last year which could leave the late Steve Wynn and Sheldon Adelson’s respective companies at a disadvantage.