This article is part 1 in a series of articles on the Macau Gaming Law Public Consultation final report. For links to all articles in the series, see the index at the end of this article.
The Macau government is on a mission – and the mission deadline is 26 June 2022.
This has been abundantly clear to me ever since the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) rushed through eight public consultation sessions on four consecutive days – 22 to 25 October – due to a COVID-disrupted September.
Those four days included a Saturday and, shock, horror, a Sunday! Whoever heard of Macau government employees working on a sacred-family-day Sunday! Since then, I have been telling anyone who would listen that I honestly believed the Macau government was highly motivated to get the casino gaming concession re-licensing process completed, on schedule, before the six concessionaires’ licenses expire on 26 June 2022. The 45-day public consultation was another hint, as most public consultation periods in Macau are 60 days.
If there was ever any doubt still lingering, it was quelled last night when the Macau government dropped its Gaming Law Public Consultation final report – without warning – just minutes before the start of the government Christmas holiday period from 24 to 27 December.
The door is now open to draft amendments to the Macau gaming law being released as early as January, which certainly gives sufficient time to pass the amendments, conduct a tendering process and announce the winners all prior to D-Day in June next year, assuming all stakeholders involved are motivated to get it done – which they clearly are, or will be forced to become.
If there are any people left predicting an extension to the gaming concessions (and admittedly, I was in their ranks as recently as September), it is time for them to change their tune. The new tune is June.
Arguably, the most important thing to learn from the release of the final report yesterday is not even contained in the report, but the mere fact it issued yesterday, when by law the government had until March 2022 to release it. That speaks volumes.
While others have already offered cursory examinations of what is in the report, in our view it’s worthy of quite a deep examination over several articles, which I will be doing over the coming days and weeks. The consultation document had a framework of some nine topics (arguably 12 topics, taking sub-topics into account), and at least half of them are worthy of their own article analyzing the various relevant nuances.
Some may say the report does not really clarify the intentions of the government, but merely summarizes the feedback received by the government during the consultation process. However, I think likely draft amendments to the Macau gaming law can be inferred from the language of the report and some judicious reading between the lines.
Starting on Boxing Day (26 December), IAG will begin publishing a series of articles offering our view about those inferences.
And just to whet your appetites, below are some facts and figures contained in the report about the level of public involvement in the public consultation.
MACAU GAMING LAW PUBLIC CONSULTATION FINAL REPORT SERIES