Macau Government Confirms Stricter Rules for the Casino Gambling Sector

Macau Government Confirms Stricter Rules for the Casino Gambling Sector

The Executive Council of Macau announced that the Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) government would submit to the Legislative Assembly a new gaming law for the optimization and improvement of the gaming sector, suggesting stricter rules for those who operate in the sector. On March 31, 2022, the Executive Council pointed out the main aspects of the amendments of the “Legal Framework for Casino Gambling” Bill before submitting it for discussion.

The Bill, after being amended, will work along with a new gaming law called “Regime for the activity of exploiting games of chance in casinos”, which is under discussion in the Legislative Assembly. Both the Bill and the new law would establish the rules for exercising activities by gaming concessionaires, junkets, agents, and management entities.

According to André Cheong, a spokesperson of the Executive Council and Secretary for Administration and Justice, the proposed law introduces ‘’an improved mechanism” for confirming fitness and determines the obligations and responsibilities of the companies in the gaming sector, which are subject to oversight to avoid various illicit practices.

Gaming Companies with No Concession Obliged to Dissolve

Per the laws, satellite casinos must be based on a property, which is owned by a concessionaire. The junket promoters could provide services to one concessionaire each, and all the contracts signed between the junkets and their preferred concessionaire must be approved by the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ). The existing gaming entities must cease their gaming activities if their failure to win a new concession, but are allowed to continue their non-gaming activities such as hotels, food, beverage, and retail.

The new law, whose first draft discussions were completed with the Macau government in March 2022, would regulate the tender process for gaming licenses and the activities of the concessionaires.

At the press conference on March 31, 2022, Adriano Ho, Director of DICJ, outlined the aspects of the new law. He also confirmed that all six Macau concessionaires submitted applications to extend their 20-year gaming concessions, which had been due to expire on June 26, 2022, by six months, with a new expiration date of December 31, 2022. The list of the Macau concessionaires and sub-concessionaires includes Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (SJM), Galaxy, and Wynn Macau Ltd, being concessionaires, and Venetian, MGM and Melco Resorts & Entertainment, which are sub-concessionaires.

Macau Concessionaires Asked to Pay $6M for License Extension

Adriano Ho said that DICJ was currently reviewing said applications for licenses and would announce the results at the right moment. He abstained from providing information on the new renewal fees. However, it was reported on media that Wynn Macau and Melco would be required to pay $6 million (MOP 47 million) each for their six-month extensions of gaming licenses.

Ho also commented that the number of junket promoters approved by DICJ has been reduced to 37 in comparison with 46 in January 2022. In 2021, the list included 85 licensed gaming promoters.

Author: Ian Douglas