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Reassessing Economic Success: More Than a Decade After Casino Liberation in Macau
Miao He; Ricardo C. S. Siu
Source PublicationAdditional Information Macau Casino Complex
Author of SourceStephen Al
PublisherUniversity of Nevada Press

Since the Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) Government replaced the monopoly structure of its casino industry with an oligopoly on February 8, 2002, the industry has witnessed a period of dramatic expansion. Prior to 2002, there were only eleven casinos, all owned by the former gaming monopoly. By the end of 2014, the number of casinos had increased to thirty-five (a number of them are mega casino resorts rather than the traditional small-scale casino hotel), owned by six gaming concessionaires (i.e., gaming license holders). Indeed, the rapid expansion of casino gaming has not only turned Macau into the world’s largest casino jurisdiction (in terms of gross gaming revenue (GGR; $44.1 billion in 2014) but also contributed to the city’s general prosperity. In addition, the progress of casino gaming has evidently boosted business opportunities for associated industries such as tourism and meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions (MICE). Nevertheless, the staggering performance of Macau’s casinos is not without adverse effects on the local economy, and such frictions can be quite significant. In nominal terms, the share of casino gaming in the Macau economy has been expanding over time. In 2014, for example, the amount of the GGR as a percentage of Macau’s GDP was around 80 percent. Consequently, it was observed that the rapid expansion of casinos had exerted much pressure onto other business sectors, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs) such as restaurants and retail shops. The different types of pressures include soaring labor and rental costs. In addition, given that Macau’s total geographic area is only about 30 square kilometers with residential population around 636,000 (2014), serious congestion and increasing pollution from over 31.5 million visitor arrivals put great stress on the local quality of life and threaten the idea of sustainable growth. Increasing competition from the East and Southeast Asian regions in casino gaming and tourism raises uncertainty regarding potential for long-term growth of Macau’s casinos, although the near-term threat is mild. Following the Portuguese handover of Macau at the end of 1999, it was in the public interest to ensure the development of this tiny economy as a “dynamic and prosperous centre” (BBC News, 12 Dec. 1999). Thus, the Macau SAR Government sought to redirect traditional and monotonic casino gambling toward a modernized and internationally competitive casino resort and leisure hub. By promulgating “What Las Vegas built in 40 years, Macau will build in 10.” 

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GB/T 7714
Miao He,Ricardo C. S. Siu. Reassessing Economic Success: More Than a Decade After Casino Liberation in Macau:University of Nevada Press,2018:88-98.
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