Monopoly on Macao's Gambling Industry to End

A total of 21 companies will bid for three new licenses of casinos in China's Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR).

The SAR government has accepted all the bidders, but some of the companies will have to add more documents to their bidding papers, according to Francis Tam Pak Yuen, secretary for economy and finance of the SAR government.

The move will put an end to the 40-year monopoly of the Macao Tourism and Amusement Company (STDM) in the city's gambling sector,as part of the efforts of local government to further upgrade casino management and promote economic expansion.

However, the STDM's business contract with the SAR government will have to be prolonged for three more months, from December 31,2001 to March 31, 2002, to allow the government enough time to assess the bidding qualification of the competitors, Tam said.

The authorities noted that none of the bidders are Chinese-funded companies.

Casinos should contribute to tourism and economic development and social stability in Macao, in line with the Gaming Industrial Regime which was passed by the Legislative Assembly in August.

Casino managers and operators should be qualified and honest and responsible for their doing, the law says.

In addition, taxation from casinos should make up 35 percent oftheir gross revenues.

People's Daily Online ---