The watchdog that oversees and regulates Macau’s electronic gaming machines (EGMs) extended the period for gambling companies to comply with a new technical standard that was implemented last year.
In 2022, details of the Technical Standards 2.0 for the electronic gaming machines available in the special administrative region (SAR) emerged. The latest version of the Technical Standards sought to introduce some rules that make sure the same rules apply to all gambling operators, help the competent authorities with the development of the sector and make sure local customers are well-protected against possible harm.
Now, Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) has extended the transition period and final implementation of the initially unveiled deadline for gambling suppliers and operators to comply with the aforementioned Technical Standards 2.0 applicable to all electronic gaming machines in the special administrative region by two years.
According to reports, the authorities voted on the extension late in December 2022. The extension is outlined in a special instruction that the DICJ Deputy Director Lio Chi Chong signed on December 29th, 2022. The decision for the extended implementation deadline for the new EGMs Technical Standards was made after the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau carried out an integrated study in an effort to make sure that the local gaming sector is subject to healthy and sustainable development.
No further changes were made to the regulations of the electronic gaming machines apart from the extension of the compliance deadline for the terminals.
Gambling Operators in Macau Hopeful to See Daily Average Visitation Numbers Go Up
Under the previous proposal, all gambling operators were supposed to fully comply with the new Technical Standards 2.0 by December 31st, 2024. This period was now extended by two years, which means that gambling providers and operators have to be compliant with the new rules by December 31st, 2026.
Apart from unveiling a new, longer deadline for full compliance, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau of Macau changed the timeline for so-called gradual compliance with the new rules. As initially planned, 40% of all electronic gaming machines in the special administrative region must be compliant with the new standard by the end of 2023. Under the latest changes, this percentage was reduced to 25%.
The 25%-a-year increase in the number of EGMs compliant with the newest technology standards is set to be kept in the years to come. This basically means that, by the end of 2024, 50% of the electronic gaming machines in Macau are required to be compliant with the new rules, while by the end of 2025, their percentage rate should rise to 75%. Finally, all such terminals would have to be fully compliant with Technical Standard 2.0 by the end of 2026.
The latest announcement of Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau comes at a time when local authorities remain hopeful for an increase in visitation numbers and, consequently, revenue in the special administrative region. Recently, Maria Helene de Senna Fernandes, who heads Macau’s Government Tourism Office, shared that the SAR hopes to see the number of visitations rise in the weeks and months to come as a result of the lifting of Covid-19-related restrictions.
According to preliminary expectations, the relaxed traveling rules may see the daily average number of visitors reach 40,000. However, it still remains unclear whether the once-Portuguese colony will see an increased number of visitations. As previously reported, the region’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) in 2022 suffered a 50% decline, which has been the worst result over the last decade. Despite that, local gambling operators keep their fingers crossed and hope for the best while unveiling plans for the introduction of non-gaming services in an effort to attract more visitors to Macau.