Gov’t still evaluating possibility of allowing online gaming – Gaming Bureau Director

In a recent reply to a written inquiry by a local legislator Gaming Inspection and Co-ordination Bureau (DICJ) Director, Adriano Ho, indicated that local authorities are still studying if it should legislate online gaming in the SAR.

The response was provided to an inquire by legislator Jose Pereira Coutinho, who had questioned if local authorities were considering to allow online or interactive gaming activities as a way to assist the local gaming sector to recover from the impact of the pandemic, and this way increase local government tax revenue.

Local gaming revenues have plunged by 81.4 per cent to some MOP45.8 billion between January and October, as pandemic related travel restrictions greatly reduced the number of visitors in the city.

This also led to a drop in the volume in gaming taxes collected by authorities, which dropped by 74 per cent to some MOP24.3 billion in the first 10 months of the year.

In his reply, the DICJ Director pointed out that online and proxy gaming, which is currently prohibited in Macau, could indeed increase gaming revenues but could also increase money laundering or increase gambling addiction risks.

“Therefore, before introducing [online gaming] the government has to conduct careful studies, which are still on-going,” Adriano Ho indicates in the response.

However, he underlined that the DICJ would listen seriously to suggestions about the development of the gaming sector by society and legislators and carefully evaluate them, including the possibility of gaming operators being allowed to explore online gaming.

The head of the DICJ, also added that complaints related to illegal gambling websites and mobile applications have decreased following increased in authorities prevention and awareness efforts.

“After detecting or receiving any complaints DICJ will forward them to the Judiciary Police […] The DICJ also contacts the major search engine operators to help block the search results for illegal games and remove their promotions,” Adriano Ho explains