Macau should legalize online gaming and import AI tech talents from Mainland China – Expert

Tourism and gambling expert Zeng Zhonglu that Macau should consider legalizing ‘online’ gambling and invest in importing skilled workers from Mainland China who could help develop Artificial Intelligence in the sector.

The Professor at the Macao Polytechnic Institute (IPM) Centre for Gaming and Tourism Studies defended in an interview with Lusa that “the only way for Macau to develop AI technology in the gaming industry is to recruit talents from mainland China”.

“AI is very important for online gaming. So far, Macau does not have an online gaming industry. In the future, Macau should consider legalizing it, otherwise, it will be behind, because other territories, other countries, are developing this area very quickly, Zhang warned.

Although Macau is able to offer luxury casinos and hotels, the best in Asia, the academic stressed, today the online game is “a potential threat to the business” for the gambling capital of the world.

“Competition between destinations has become increasingly fierce, increasingly intense” and, therefore, “Macau must distinguish itself […], it must find a new path”, warned the academic, since the casinos Macao reais may start to be passed over.

The IPM professor stressed that around the world online gaming is developing very quickly, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic”, and that in many countries, revenues from Internet gambling have doubled.

On the other hand, he maintained, the territory “must invite some high-tech companies, especially in the games sector, software companies”, especially from the United States and Australia, to come to Macau and use the knowledge [about the consumer] of Macau (…) to make unique products ”.

In Macau, “gambling companies have close contact with customers so that they can learn about customers’ behaviours or preferences much better than other locations,” he explained.

So the casino capital of the world “must use this knowledge to develop games,‘ slot machines ’or some other gaming products” for the Asian market, which it knows well, he said.

Finally, Zeng Zhonglu pointed out that Macau has yet to find new ways to attract tourists, as gambling promoters are no longer able to go to mainland China to raise major gamblers, due to a legislative change imposed by Beijing.

Macau, the gambling capital of the world, is the only place in all of China where casino gambling is legal. In 2019, it generated some MOP292.4 billion in revenue.

However, last year, due to the impact of the pandemic, casinos in Macau ended 2020 with MOP60.4 billion in gaming revenue, a fall of 79.3 per cent when compared to the previous year.