Macau Cancels Third Public Meeting on Proposed Casino Crackdown
(Bloomberg) -- Macau has now cancelled three town hall meetings meant for officials to gauge public opinion on a proposed tightening of casino rules in the world’s largest gaming hub, citing Covid-19 flareups and a tropical storm.
Local regulators put off a consultation meeting scheduled for Wednesday citing typhoon Kompasu, as the city raised its warning signal to No. 8, a severe form of storm, expected to be in effect throughout the morning. It scratched two previous gatherings, on Oct. 9 and Sept. 29, citing a resurgence of local virus clusters.
The proposal to increase oversight on Macau’s biggest industry comes as China cracks down on private sectors from technology to education. It triggered a record $18 billion selloff of local gaming stocks and raised questions about Macau’s future as the world’s gambling epicenter.
A Bloomberg Intelligence index of the city’s six casinos hasn’t recovered, plunging 24% since the announcement on Sept. 14. The plan could be a cornerstone of Beijing’s wider push for the enclave -- the only place in China where gambling is legal -- to diversify and cut its reliance on the gaming industry.
There’s just one public session remaining next Tuesday before the 45-day consultation period concludes on Oct. 29, and still little clarity on what the new rules will look like. Officials last month met Macau’s gaming operators to consult on the proposed changes to the law -- including plans to send government representatives to directly supervise casino companies, allow authorities to approve dividend distribution and increase local ownership of the gambling firms.
While authorities said they were open to opinions on the proposed revisions to casino law, the meeting yielded few details on major issues concerning investors.
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