Ho Iat Seng is ready to add some fresh faces to Macau’s government. During a press event in Macau ahead of a trip to Beijing this week, the man tapped to lead the city forward indicated that he is working on a new list of possibilities for different government positions and expects to present his recommendations to China before the end of October or possibly in early November. Ho and the rest of the group will have their work cut out for them as Macau’s gaming market bounces back from a weak 2019.
Ho is going to become the third chief executive of Macau when he takes over from Fernando Chui Sai On this December. His selection was virtually uncontested and China’s Premier, Li Keqiang, presented his formal confirmation yesterday. When he is handed the keys on December 20, five new secretaries overseeing operations in various parts of the government will also need to be put in place.
While he has time to compile his list before presenting it to China, Ho indicates that he still hasn’t completely formalized how the new team may look. He indicated that he is going to base his selections on multiple criteria, including the ability to perform the assigned job, whether or not the individual can communicate effectively in public and the person’s integrity.
Ho is going to have to see if there’s anything he can do to shore up the gambling activity in Macau. Due to several factors, including the ongoing U.S-China trade war, Hong Kong protests and increased scrutiny over financial transactions, Macau’s gross gaming revenue has slipped this year and it may not recover until next year at the earliest. The new chief executive is also going to have to diligently manage a plan that seeks to make Macau more versatile and appealing to a wider range of tourism segments as the city looks to become known as more than just a gambling mecca.
One of the biggest questions on everyone’s mind, at least in the gaming realm, is what Ho plans on doing about the casino licensing scheme. There are currently six operators in Macau and all are due to have new licenses issued in 2022. At that time, according to certain rumors, new license concessions could also be made available. However, if the local gaming industry doesn’t pick up, adding new licenses won’t solve any issues.