Macau Is About To Focus On International Sports

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Article by : Helen Dec 8, 2020

Macau has always been considered one of the most popular tourist destinations and one of the most popular spots for casino enthusiasts. Starting from 2021, Macau will focus on the industry that may compete with gambling when it comes to popularity: on international sports events. According to the recently established agreement between the Macau authorities and 6 major gambling venues that are licensed and located in the city, much more resources will now be devoted to attracting sports fans to the city. The 6 gambling properties are about to hold a major sports event every single month during the next year.

Bringing international sports events to Macau is the top-priority goal for the next year.

Ho Iat Seng, Macau Chief Executive

More than that, he said that each licensee is already briefed about the main statements of the agreement and is ready to host or to be a sponsor for an international sports event twice a year, which will bring 12 sports events to Macau in 2021. In turn, the licensees gave positive feedback on this plan so that they are ready to host such major events as the World Table Tennis Championships starting from the end of this year.

As of now, it’s still not clear which exact events will be held throughout the next year in Macau. However, it is rumored that the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture for Macau, Elsie Ao Leong U, has already prepared a list of the events that can be potentially held by the licensees next year. Before this list is revealed, Ho Iat Seng will have to sign it off since he has the last word on which events should be brought to the city. What adds complexity to the current plan is that the still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic could make adjustments to the potential schedule at any time.

Realizing all the risks related to the pandemic, Ho believes that hosting international sports events will serve Macau’s interests. He added that Elsie Ao Leong U is already waiting for his confirmation, but this is not an easy decision considering the current situation. The easiest way would be to abandon the upcoming sports events, but this is not the way out Macau is looking for. Cancelation of the events won’t provide any positive effect for the city, which is why Ho Iat Seng should carefully analyze the potential schedule and polish it before making any announcements.

It won’t be the first time Macau holds massive sports events. It already has experience hosting the Macau Grand Prix event, which was even held in 2020, despite the pandemic and lockdowns. According to the official data, more than 50,000 spectators were reported during this event. Anyway, Ho should do a great job at making the schedule as flexible as possible to be able to adapt to the pandemic situation and remain one of the most popular tourist destinations where one can find different types of activities.

The government may be able to propose more suitable conditions and requirements in normal times, but right now, they might struggle to gain any positive responses from gaming operators.

Dr. Zhonglu Zeng, professor at the Macao Polytechnic Institute

Macau has no reason to refuse to host international sports events, as its gambling industry is already suffering from the COVID-19 impact, and there are still many questions about how it will recover. According to Macau’s leaders, all scheduled casino tenders remain in place so far, but the pandemic is likely to change the plans. In the best-case scenario, the tender processes will be simply delayed.

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