Legislators in Macau to Begin Review of New Gaming Laws

Macau legislative assembly

Macau lawmakers are starting their official review of the new gambling laws, beginning with the General Assembly.

Authorities in Macau just recently published drafted rules for the gaming industry, with the licensing set to continue at six venues in the SAR. Now, lawmakers feel they have the ability to begin putting the new gambling measures into place. The General Assembly will begin reviewing the rules next week. It was unclear if the city officials would be able to reach concessions before June, when the casino licenses are voided. Now, operators have an idea as to what the new gambling laws entail and if the General Assembly agrees, then the rules could be instituted before the summer months.

Will Changes Be Made?

It is expected that the new laws will not be changed as they are reviewed within the General Assembly. However, the first reading may result in a few suggestions. Once completed in the General Assembly, the laws and any suggestions are moved to a subcommittee for consideration. Another reading and then vote by the General Assembly must then take place.

The hope is that the rules will move forward and receive approval by June 26. This is the day the concessions for the six current casino operators expire. If any issues do take place, the city is ready to provide an extension to the existing concessions.

Operators in Macau were happy to see the drafted laws as they give some relief as to what is coming by June. We should see the same operators remain in the SAR, offering services for the next few years. This time around, the concessions move from a 20-year time frame to just 10 years.

Satellite Casino element

As part of the potential changes coming to the gaming industry, satellite casinos may no longer be in the mix. The facilities have been able to use the concessions of operators to offer services, but the gambling options are provided via independent investors. This will no longer be an option in Macau.

For satellite casino operators, the government is providing three years to figure out how to offer the operations with licensing. Basically, the satellites will have to choose to become an asset of the license holders. Operators were quite surprised by this element.

Wang Changbin, the Centre for Gaming and Tourism Studios director, stated that the new law does show how satellite casinos can operate. Yet, it does not show the economic impact of such changes. The satellite investors will eventually have no role in the gaming world. This could seriously cut back on funds that Macau receives since such facilities have been operational for many years.

Some insiders within the satellite industry feel that a cooperation model will be set up so that investors and concessionaires can work together to continue to offer such gambling service options.

Struggling Amidst COVID-19

The changes to gambling laws in Macau come as the region is struggling to bring in revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Macau has fared well in avoiding the virus, but at the cost of its gambling industry. With no travelers coming in, wagering is basically at somewhat of a stand still.

In early January, the region had to suspend inbound commercial air travel from outside China for a two-week time frame. While this helps Macau to stay virus-free, it eliminates the much-needed visitors to bring in revenues hotel stays and casino gaming.

It will be interesting to watch as 2022 unfolds in Macau as it deals with the ongoing pandemic as well as how the region handles the incoming gambling legislative changes.

Associate Writer: Simon loves to bet on sports as well as play online slots, and he has a keen eye for sorting out the honest sites from the not so honest.