A Macau legislator has urged the SAR government to introduce online gambling in order to help overcome the economic challenges brought about by COVID-19.
In the written interpellation sent to the government, legislator José Maria Pereira Coutinho expressed his concerns over the impact COVID-19 has had on Macau’s gaming and tourism industries, warning the SAR may not return to the highs it had experienced before the outbreak of the pandemic.
Online gaming is prohibited in Macau, with the exception of some limited sports betting on football and basketball provided by Macau Slot Co Ltd, but Coutinho believes the the government should reconsider its stance.
“It is suggested that Macau should introduce interactive gaming,” he said. “The Macau SAR government [should] establish official standards and regulations on interactive gaming, and develop interactive gaming software together, in order to increase revenue from gaming tax and to further develop gaming industries in Macau.”
He also suggested that Macau refer to the online gaming policies of European nations, including the United Kingdom whose Gambling Act 2005 paved the way for a number of companies in the iGaming field to list on the London Stock Exchange.
Macau has been largely resistant to online gambling, although the DICJ told Inside Asian Gaming in May that, “The government would listen to any suggestions that would help the development of the industry. However, due to the risks of gambling through the internet or telephone, the government must carefully study the judgment.”