Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) has postponed the first of four public consultation sessions on proposed amendments to the city’s gaming law due to the new COVID-19 “state of immediate prevention” announced over the weekend.
The session was due to be held this Wednesday 29 September from 10:00 to 12:30 but the DICJ issued a notice late Monday morning stating it had been cancelled in order to cooperate with the current COVID-19 measures in Macau. It was to be the only public consultation session to be conducted in Portuguese as well as Chinese, despite Portguese being one of the two official languages of Macau, along with Chinese.
Contacted by IAG for clarification, the DICJ said the session will be rescheduled although an exact date has not yet been confirmed.
Another three sessions are still scheduled to take place on 9 October, 13 October and 19 October, with the DICJ and the Secretariat for Economy and Finance having already hosted a face-to-face consultation with Macau’s casino and junket operators last week. The 45-day public consultation process is due to run until 29 October 2021.
The decision to cancel the first public consultation follows confirmation by authorities on Saturday that two security guards working at a quarantine hotel in Macau had tested positive to COVID-19.
In response, the SAR entered the “state of immediate prevention” and launched a mass testing blitz of all residents, currently taking place from 3pm Saturday to 3pm Tuesday, while Zhuhai has shortened the validity period of virus tests for those crossing the border to just 24 hours. Anyone entering Zhuhai from Macau between 6am on 26 September to midnight at the start of 29 September will also be required to undertake 14 days of quarantine.
As previously reported by Inside Asian Gaming, the proposed amendments to the gaming law, announced on 14 September, include the abolition of sub-concessions, altered license terms and increased government oversight of gaming activities. Concessionaires requested more clarity on some amendments during last week’s consultation, particularly around the proposed placement of government representatives directly into the gaming concessionaires to supervise operations and a requirement for operators to require government approval before declaring dividends.