Macau’s casino and junket operators will have the opportunity to ask questions and express their views on proposed amendments to the city’s gaming laws when the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) hosts the first of five face-to face consultation sessions today.
The session, scheduled to run for two-and-a-half hours from 3pm, will be the one and only opportunity for casinos and junkets to officially state their case, with the four remaining consultation sessions, on September 29, October 9, October 13 and October 19, designated for the public.
Operators contacted by Inside Asian Gaming over the weekend said they were still assessing how they would approach today’s session following publication of the proposed gaming law amendments on Tuesday evening last week.
The government proposals led to an (arguably irrational) stockmarket panic the following day, Wednesday 15 September, which wiped 26% off the market capitalization of the Hong Kong-listed entities of Macau’s six concessionaires.
As reported by IAG, a 45-day public consultation period began last Wednesday on a series of proposed changes, including the abolition of sub-concessions under Macau’s gaming concession system, altered license terms and increased government oversight of gaming activities.
The government has suggested reconsidering the current 20-years expiration period of gaming incenses, possibly reduced to just 10 years, as well as increasing the minimum capital required of gaming concessionaires and raising the minimum percentage of share capital held by permanent Macau residents in the concessionaires.
Among the more contentious proposals is for a government representative to be appointed to a role within each gaming concessionaires to directly supervise operations, possibly in a boardroom capacity, as part of measures aimed at tightening control of the industry. The government has also proposed having the power to conduct reviews on any hired personnel of gaming concessions, junket operators and associated companies to ensure they are suitable persons, irrespective of whether or not they are considered “key employees”.
Despite an already significant contribution to Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, the government has touted even more in the future in areas such as the hiring, welfare and career promotion of local residents – especially those with disabilities, focusing on local procurement and SMEs, the environment, charity, education, science and culture.
The proposed amendments to Macau’s gaming law focus on has four major policy directions: reinforcing social responsibility, encouraging the expansion of non-gaming elements, strengthening government regulations of the industry for healthy development, and matching legal effects and sanctions for non-compliance.
The current licenses of all six Macau casino concessionaires and sub-concessionaires expire on 26 June 2022.