To pass before Aug. 15

Macau government to clarify roles, rules for gaming promoters through new law

Chan Chak Mo, president of Macau's Second Standing Committee of the Legislative Assembly (AL).
Reading time 2:17 min

The Macau government has pledged to clarify the role of gambling promoters in the world’s largest gambling hub through legislation, to be passed later this year. The plans were confirmed by Chan Chak Mo, president of the Second Standing Committee of the Legislative Assembly (AL).

The new law, to be passed by the AL before August 15 this year -the end of the current legislative session-, will clarify the role of each type of gaming intermediaries, government officials revealed to lawmakers. These are currently codified in the form of Executive Regulations.

“Hard or simple, we need to have a deadline. Of course, the direction and framework have already been defined,” Chan said, according to Macau Business. “The government did not say when the bill would be submitted but regardless we need to finish the gaming law amendment first. It will be finished before August 15.”

The new bill proposes provisions that are different from those currently stipulated, which has led officials to agree to transform the Executive Regulations into legislation. The Standing Second Committee was told that the future law will clarify the scope of business of each individual intermediary, management company and collaborator, Macau Daily Times reports.

Macau Legislative Assembly

The legislation proposes that gaming concessionaires can only pay management fees to management companies, in charge of providing services -including promotion- to casinos. Licensees will not be allowed to share profits with, or pay commissions to, gaming intermediaries.

Thus, these companies may only receive management fees, while the right to operate casinos remains with concessionaires. Under the bill, management contracts would be required approval by the Macau Chief Executive, further reports Times.

According to local sources, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) -the city’s regulator- has been preparing an amendment to the 2002 gaming promoter regulations in tandem with the amendment to the general gaming law, currently being debated at the Legislative Assembly.

The Gaming Promoters’ Regulation from 2002, subsequently amended in 2009, governs the licensing and activities of gaming promoters, colloquially known as “junkets.” Projected changes in the new law could include a raise of the minimum capital amount of a junket to MOP 10 million ($1.2 million) from MOP 25,000, according to Macau Business.

A second major change would involve the names of senior employees, staff in charge of finance and partners of the junkets to be publicized on the website of the gaming regulator. Junket operators would also be required to have at least one Macau permanent resident as shareholder.

The much-discussed amendments to the general gaming law also lay out provisions in regards to junkets. Each gaming promoter will only be allowed to establish operational contracts with only one concessionaire, while they are banned from resorting to third parties to carry out business, unless deemed “necessary” by their partners or members of the management body.

The legislation also calls for increased penalties against accepting cash or other illegal deposits by promoters. Gaming concessionaires will bear any legal responsibility should junket operators with whom they have agreements be found committing infractions.

The new gambling law bill is expected to be submitted to the AL plenary for voting before June 26, and is currently being evaluated at the Second Standing Committee. Last week, government officials announced their intention to be able to reduce the total number of tables and machines “at any point in time” through a provision in the proposed legislation.

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