Macau is currently preparing to update its gambling laws and, so far, there haven't been a lot of issues with the language included in the reform. There are a couple of points that need some clarification, but big questions were raised this week when lawmakers zeroed in on a particular entry. Casino operators could apparently become a threat to Macau's "national security," even though the SAR is not a nation.
Some members of Macau's Legislative Assembly have requested that the government clarify the clause in its gaming law amendment bill regarding what constitutes national security endangerment. According to the bill, the Macau government can terminate a concessionaire's contract for any reason, including national security threats, breaches of contractual obligations and public interest.
Chan Chak Mo, president of the Legislative Assembly committee that is charged with reviewing the bill, disclosed this information to reporters on Thursday. Since Monday, the committee has met for four consecutive days to discuss the contents of the document.
Following a closed-door meeting, Chan stated that the committee would ask Macau's government to clarify the criteria for determining whether a gaming concessionaire is a threat to the national security or the security of the city. Despite Macau having its own government and the ability to establish its own laws, it has become expected that a lot of the decisions made in the city are influenced by China's leaders.
Separately, the Macau government is currently working on a bill to amend the Law on Safeguarding National Security. Wong Sio Chak, the city's secretary for security, stated in January that authorities expected to complete the process by the end of the year.
Another question raised by legislators is the "rationale" and "applicability" of an article in the draft law that contemplates a mechanism to dissolve an existing gaming concession if it is not granted a new license after the six current concessions have expired, stated Chan. Experts in Macau gaming law believe that such an article could be problematic.
Chan stated that the committee would compile a list with questions in the next week and submit it to the government. Government representatives are expected to answer the questions at subsequent meetings of the committee.
The lawmaker further stated that the Macau government wanted to see the assembly complete the deliberation on the draft law and pass it before the expiry of six concessionaires. The six gaming concessions expire on June 26.
Image credit: Unsplash.com