Rising public safety concerns associated with the latest coronavirus infections in the country have made the casino regulator of Macau cancel another live public consultation session associated with the draft of an amendment to the special administrative region’s gambling legislation.
The meeting was set to take place on October 9th but was eventually called off by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. This is not the first time when Macau’s gambling watchdog cancels such a consultation, as it had already called off a meeting that had to take place on September 29th. As a result, the 45-public consultation period that started on September 15th was extended by the city’s government until October 29th.
The first live consultation session was held on September 20th but it was for representatives of the gambling industry, rather than the general public. At the time, a number of casino executives asked the local authorities for further clarifications on the proposed new regulatory measures for the industry, and more specifically the idea of increasing the minimum share capital required for the gambling businesses in the city, as well as the idea for the potential increase of the portion in a gaming concession entity that needs to be held by a permanent resident of Macau.
As mentioned above, the development of the Covid-19 infection in the city was cited as the reason for the Bureau’s decision to cancel both public consultation sessions on the proposed gambling legislation amendments. Since September 25th, the special administrative region of China reported a number of new coronavirus cases after a pause since the beginning of August.
Existing Casino Concessions in Macau to Expire in June 2022
Last week, the city’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lei Wai Nong, shared with a local media that the Macau Government had not planned to extend the consultation process but community members were still able to submit their written opinions on the issue.
According to the schedule that was announced by the Government of Macau in September, further face-to-face consultation sessions on the proposed legislative amendments for the general public are set to be held on October 14th and October 19th. The consultations are being held in order to help the authorities shed more light on the proposed changes for the local gambling sector, which mostly involves a new gambling policy, as well as the renewal of the already existing gambling licenses in the city.
The six concessions to offer casino gambling services in Macau are expected to expire in June 2022. As explained by Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, the casinos were urged to bring some changes to their way of operation because of the problems caused by the industry to society and some deficiencies in its supervision. At the same time, Lei Wai Nong remains hopeful that the Government of Macau will be able to recognize the value that is brought by gambling companies to the community.
Reportedly, Macau casinos generated revenue of $36.6 billion in 2019. So even with no official information regarding the issuance of new licenses, experts believe it is not likely for the local Government to remove any of the big players that operate in the sector.