At a consultation with gaming industry players held on September 20th, Macau Government officials revealed that local authorities remain open to opinions regarding the proposed revisions to the casino law. The consultation took place after the special administrative region of China announced that it would adopt a stricter approach to casino operators triggered a massive stock sell-off for casino companies.
So far, the meeting was the only time the two sides will have some type of public interaction during the 45-day consultation period that is set to close on October 29th.
Despite that, there has been little information on the most important issues that concern investors, such as how Macau’s authorities plan to encourage and boost local ownership in such operators, or how they will directly supervise local casinos. It also remains unclear whether there would be new license conditions and, if yes, which one of them will apply to the six casino companies in the city after the expiration of their operation permits in June 2022.
So far, all six casino companies that operate a casino venue in Macau have shared they support the revision of local casino laws and promised to collaborate in the process, including in terms of non-gaming industries. On the other hand, so-called junkets, as junket operators facilitating high-roller gamblers are known, asked the authorities for more details on the definition of illegal cash deposits and money laundering.
Authorities Trying to Impose Stricter Measures to Curb Gambling in the Region
As CasinoGamesPro reported about a week ago, the Government of Macau revealed that it intended to bring some changes to casino regulations and impose more restrictions on operators.
The announcement was made at a time when the Chinese Government is trying to bolster its grip over the special administrative region where gambling and casinos are currently legal. As it was revealed at the time, authorities are seeking to impose direct supervision over the casinos that currently offer day-to-day operations in the city, as well as tighter controls on the dividends’ distribution and increased local shareholdings in the companies.
For years, the Chinese Government has been trying to limit high-stakes gambling in Macau. The authorities have been working to impose stricter limits on overseas trips taken by overseas residents who come to the city to gamble on concerns such trips could serve as channels for capital outflows and different types of criminal activity, such as money laundering.
At the time when the announcement of the upcoming changes was made, it caused panic in the market, with gambling stocks losing a record $18.4 in combined market value.
The Government of Macau is set to hold four meetings to gather and assess public feedback on the upcoming revisions of the casino laws, with all opinions set to be taken into account. Some of the major gambling operators that have a casino venue in the special administrative region – Galaxy Entertainment, MGM China Holdings, Sands China and SJM Holdings – said they would take part in the consultation by submitting detailed opinions on the proposed casino law change. A final proposal on the matter is set to be presented to Macau’s legislature after the ending of the consultation period.