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Macau’s top gaming regulator resigns from post

TAGs: las vegas sands, Macau, Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, Manuel Joaquim das Neves, MGM Resorts, Wynn Resorts

The head honcho of Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) is leaving his post amid reports of weak outlook in the coming year for the city state’s revenues.

Macau’s top gaming regulator resigns from postMacau Daily Times reported Manuel Joaquim das Neves is resigning from the position he has held for 18 years because he wants “to take a break” and “devote more time to family and leisure.”

Neves will step down by November 25 when his term expires, according to the news agency citing a government statement. The 56-year-old has led the bureau for 18 years, overseeing Macau’s gaming industry grow from infancy—before U.S. casino operators Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts came into the picture—right up to its explosive growth in the following years before the gaming sector’s breakdown in 2014.

The city state has been severely affected by mainland China’s slowing economy and the Chinese government’s crackdown on corruption, prompting many wealthy VIP players to steer clear of Macau’s tables. Casino gaming revenue fell by one-third in September, the 16th straight month of year-on-year declines in the Chinese territory.

Last month’s gaming revenue fell 33 percent to MOP 17.1 billion ($2.2 billion), which is slightly better than August’s 36.5 percent shortfall, but September’s total is still the lowest monthly tally so far in 2015, edging out Junes MOP 17.35 billion.

Neves told state broadcaster TDM it was time for a change. He will leave the bureau, which is already in the midst of stepping up its regulatory game in terms of casino and junket regulations monitoring, among other things.

The Macau government has yet to announce a replacement for Neves, according to Reuters. Civil servants in the city state are required to retire when they turn 65, but they have the option to retire early if they have been in service for more than 30 years.

When asked about his plans for the future, Neves told TDM: “For the time being, I don’t have any projects. I will decide what I will do later on.”

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