Bill revising local gaming law could hit Legislative Assembly floor in 2021 Q4 – CE

The Macau SAR government believes that the draft of the revised gaming law could be submitted to the Legislative Assembly (AL) by the last quarter of next year, depending on when the public consultation process is initiated, the 2021 policy address indicates.

The legislative review is a necessary step ahead of a public retender process for Macau gaming rights, linked to the expiry in June 2022 of the existing six gaming concessions.

Studies and preparations for defining a gaming law revision that could be submitted to public consultation have been carried out this year, with some preliminary works on gaming promotion legislation having been concluded.

In loco inspections of casinos’ fixed assets will also be carried out between the first and third quarter of 2021.

The next two years will also see authorities update and specify the requirements for high amount transaction reports set to prevent money laundering transactions, and evaluate enhanced due diligence measures enforced by gaming operators for online client transactions.

The 2021 policy document – presented today (Monday) by Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng at the AL – also indicates that authorities plan to start an audit to local junket operators between the first to last quarter of 2021, including to the oversight and supervision mechanisms enforced by junkets over their clients’ accounts.

Inspections on the operational procedures carried enforced by junkets on their accounts in local casinos will also be carried out in the same period.

According to the document, in 2020 authorities have collected background information on licenses junket operators to be used for evaluating the suitability of new licensees, including requirements for share transfers and company board appointments.

An audit to junket financial accounts has also been concluded in June of this year, with preparatory works initiated for the referred audit on junkets casino accounts operational procedures to take place in 2021.

The number of licensed VIP junket promoters has gradually decreased in recent years, with the number of operators licensed to conduct business in the Macau SAR in 2020 falling to 95, the seventh consecutive year with a decline reported.

Last year also saw the tightening o several regulations concerning the sector, with MNA reporting in September, 2019 that the Gaming Inspection and Co-ordination Bureau (DICJ) had issued instructions that month to limit any “transfer of information about gaming activities or operations, including customer personal data” for third parties, in the SAR or elsewhere, for gaming concessionaires, sub-concessionaires and junkets.

The former DICJ Director, Paulo Martins Chan, later stated in an interview with Macau Business that restructuring and imposing tighter regulations of the city’s junket industry without impacting gaming revenues was one of the achievements he is more proud of as head of the local gaming watchdog.

[To be updated]