Macau's new leader pledges support for casino operations

Jul 28, 2009 5:09 PM
Industry Insider by Ray Poirier | Macau, the Chinese territory that has become the world’s leading gaming location, has a new head man, and the casino operators couldn’t be happier.

Chosen to take the protectorate’s top spot in December is Fernando Chui (pictured), the 52-year-old former secretary for social and cultural affairs. He will be the first man to succeed Edmund Ho, Macau’s leader since it was returned to Chinese rule in 1999 by the Portuguese government.

What’s causing smiles among the casino operators – particularly Sheldon Adelson of Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS), Steve Wynn of Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN), and Pansy Ho and partner MGM MIRAGE Inc. (MGM) – is Chui’s personal campaign to strengthen the competitive edge of the gaming sector.

On Chui’s website, he pledges to "revise and perfect the laws on gambling supervision and establish a mechanism of fair competition." He also hopes to revisit taxes on casino operators to insure their competitive positions as gambling in Asia spreads.

Chui is no stranger to American ways. Born in Macau, Chui was sent to the U.S. for his education. He received a bachelor’s degree from California State University in Sacramento and both a master’s degree and a doctorate in public health at the University of Oklahoma.

His interest in expanding Macau’s convention business is exactly what the casino operators would be looking to endorse. It also could be linked to the recent increase in stock prices for the three U.S. companies who have invested in Macau gaming.