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Paulo Chan on Macau’s future

Written by Ben Blaschke

This article first appeared in the Jul/Aug 2016 issue of WGM.

The appearance of Paulo Martins Chan, the recently appointed Director of Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, at this year’s G2E Asia Conference represented a significant moment in his short tenure.

His message may have contained no surprises as he touted the government’s ongoing push for diversification of the Macau gaming industry, but there was more to Paulo Martins Chan’s speech at G2E Asia this year than meets the eye.

The newly appointed director of the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) addressed the audience before an afternoon session of the G2E Asia 2016 Conference on 18 May titled “Transformation in Changing Conditions” – and his very presence should give the industry a boost.

Why? Because in the 10 years since G2E Asia first arrived on Macau’s shores, this was the first time that any director of the DICJ had taken the time to be part of Asian gaming’s largest and longest-running industry event.

It mattered less that Mr Chan only reiterated what his predecessor, Manuel Joaquim das Neves, had been spruiking prior to his retirement last November and more that he was there in the first place. It’s an encouraging indication that Mr Chan recognizes the important role he has to play in ensuring the long term health of the Macau gaming industry.

It is also noteworthy that Mr Chan conducted his speech in English.

Rather than wrapping himself in a bubble, his choice to use the “international language” suggests he also understands the importance of Macau’s position on a global scale rather than simply as its own isolated haven.

This is the reality of the modern world, which is why his remarks – although containing no surprises – were encouraging.

“As written in the Policy Address of 2016, the Macau SAR government will continue to optimize Macau’s global reputation by actively promoting the non-gaming elements and increasing their share in the total revenue of Macau,” Mr Chan said at G2E Asia.

“Through the development of large scale attractions and gradually reaching increased quality in Macau’s tourism, we will establish a balance between gaming and other related industries.

“We want to promote gaming as an industry of integrity and quality. We will continue to strengthen and refine our laws and regulations and improve the overall quality rather than quantity of the gaming industry.

“We will focus on helping the industry improve their process, the mass market and increase investment in non-gaming and other sectors of Macau.

“Joining the gaming operators for large new products that showcase their non-gaming elements, accelerating the promotion of regional cooperation to develop stronger economic links and creating new opportunities for tourism will be the upcoming mission of Macau.”

Mr Chan was appointed Director of the DICJ in December having previously served 17 years in Macau’s Public Prosecutions Office. He holds a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Macau and a Master of Law from Macau University of Science and Technology as well as being fluent in English, Portuguese, Cantonese and Mandarin.

Mr Chan’s G2E Asia visit coincided with the 10th Anniversary of the show, which welcomed a record 10,984 visitors from 83 countries through the doors – up 11 percent from 2015.

The attendees included 950 serious buyers and decision makers which represented an impressive 43 percent increase on last year’s show. A sign, perhaps, that things are looking up!