China’s Li to Unveil Support for Diversifying Macau, TDM Reports

  • Li’s measures are for city’s long-term stability, report says
  • Macau has been trying to cut its reliance on gambling industry

China’s Premier Li Keqiang said he will announce supportive policies for Macau’s long-term stability as he arrived in the world’s largest gambling hub for a three-day visit, Teledifusao de Macau reported Monday.

The measures from China’s central government will be aimed at promoting and speeding up Macau’s diversification, the government-owned broadcaster cited Li as saying after he landed at the city’s airport on Monday. Macau has been trying to reduce its reliance on gambling, which contributes about 80 percent of its tax revenue.

Li will inspect Macau and attend a conference of ministers from China and Portuguese-speaking countries during his Oct. 10 to 12 trip, the official Xinhua News Agency reported last week. Some analysts warned the visit could derail a nascent recovery for Macau casinos in October, as high-stakes Chinese bettors shy away from the presence of senior officials.

President Xi Jinping’s visit to the former Portuguese enclave in December 2014, when he ordered the city to diversify its economy from gambling, heralded a two-year plunge in casino revenue. Macau, the only place in China where casinos are legal, is now trying to transform itself into a tourist destination with resorts that boast more non-gambling features.

Macau’s two-year slump is showing signs of abating. The enclave’s gaming revenue rose more than estimated in September, a second month of growth after stemming a 26-month decline in August as new resorts including Wynn Palace, which opened in August, and Sands’s Parisian which debuted last month, helped draw more recreational gamblers.

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