Macau is determined to set new golden regulatory standards that will bind the casino industry and close any remaining loopholes. To this end, legislators of the special administrative region have decided to outline several new aspects of the "Legal Framework for Casino Gambling" Bill that will be overhauled in a series of newly-proposed amendments. The changes were shared on Thursday prior to their submission to the Legislative Assembly where they will receive more scrutiny from legislators and either get approval or be dismissed and sent back for corrections.
The Legal Framework for Casino Gambling, once amended, is expected to work with another gambling law that is currently being worked on in the Legislative Assembly. Much of the laws focus on mitigating the impact of junket operators, which began disappearing from the SAR soon after Alvin Chau, the former boss of Suncity Group, was arrested and tied to criminal investigation that now threatens the very future of the junket model.
As a response to the increased scrutiny on junkets, many companies, including Melco Resorts and Las Vegas Sands, said they would no longer collaborate with junkets. The argument was that they would not want to be held accountable for third parties’ actions.
Back to the ongoing changes that will significantly alter the way gambling operators in the SAR operate, the new gambling laws proposed currently in the Legislative Assembly argue that junkets would only be allowed to work with one concessionaire in Macau each. This is part of the government’s efforts to hold companies accountable and the industry clean of manipulation.
The law also proposes to set clear-cut criminal and administrative penalties for illegal deposits or breaching rules concerning agents and sub-agents. Meanwhile, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau director Adriano Ho confirmed that all six concessionaires in Macau had applied for license extension from June 26, 2022 through December 31, 2022. This extension was necessary because Macau is still overhauling its gaming laws and the final draft is unlikely to be passed by the end of June.
However, in exchange for a $6 million fee, all concessionaires have been allowed to extend the period of their license and continue to operate. Ho acknowledged that junkets continue to be a part of the gaming landscape, but reminded that their number has dropped. Currently, there are only 37 junket operators present in Macau, although 46 were approved in January. It’s possible that many of these companies are rethinking their strategies for the market.
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