Macau | East Timor gov’t looking to allow casino licences – Legal advisor

Macau (MNA) – A legal advisor at East Timor public investment agency TradeInvest Timor-Leste told Macau News Agency (MNA) the Portuguese speaking country government is looking to allow casino gaming licenses in the future.

“This is the ideal time for a tourism company to go to Macau and maybe afterwards develop gaming,” the legal expert stated after a seminar held this Friday by the Macau Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM) to introduce changes in the country’s investment laws.

TradeInvest Timor-Leste is a public authority and the primary Investment and Export Promotion Agency for East Timor.

According to Mr. Carneiro, currently gaming legislation in the country concedes licenses for the exploration of slot machines and lottery, but no casino licenses are provided yet.

“There are two or three companies with a gaming license but not for casinos. In the future there might be,” he added.

The legal expert stated if full gaming legislation was to be implemented, casino gaming licenses would most likely be attributed for the country’s special economic zone RAEOA (Special Autonomous Region of Oecusse Ambeno) but possibly also for a large scale casino in the country’s capital of Dili.

In 2016 Ina Chan Un Chan, Director of Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau, SA (STDM) and Chairman of Hong Kong company UNIR (HK) Management Limited expressed interest in investing in the tourism sector in East Timor.

According to the legal expert, East Timor offers fiscal measures that would be advantageous for local tourism and gaming companies, such as exemption of income and custom taxes.

During the seminar Mr. Carneiro informed that East Timor currently doesn’t have agreements with any country to to avoid double taxation but that there “has been a lot of interest shown from the Macau side” to be the first region to sign an agreement.

The country has implemented legislation in the last two years that can exempt companies of paying income tax, service tax or sales tax on any equipments used for five years if the investment project is in Dili, for eight years for investments outside the capital and for 10 years for investments in Oecusse Ambeno.

“Currently most Chinese investment [in East Timor] is focused in construction, oil related areas and real estate,” Mr. Carneiro added.

There are also negotiations to establish an airline connection between East Timor and Guangzhou, with Mr. Carneiro saying establishing this line would be of “great importance” for the country since currently only the Indonesian capital of Bali, Singapore and the Australian city of Darwin offer flight connections to the country.