Experts forecast gaming industry growth in Asian markets

Macau’s draft bill on casino concessionaire and junket-issued credit for gambling reduces regulatory uncertainties, says a gaming expert.

Ryan-Ho, Macau’s gaming image
Ryan Ho Hong Wai, professor from the Centre for Gaming and Tourism Studies of the Macao Polytechnic University

Speaking to AGB, Ryan Ho Hong Wai – from the Centre for Gaming and Tourism Studies of the Macao Polytechnic University – says that the government has revised its stance on gaming credit, allowing only concessionaires to issue such credit. Casino management firms, also known as satellite casinos operators, are banned from doing so. However, licensed junkets may enter contracts with concessionaires that allow them to issue gaming credit.

Compared to the existing gaming credit regime that came into force in 2004, the scholar says there is no significant change regarding the supervision directions, indicating that the new bill gives clear guidance to the industry on submitting documents.

Article 8 of the bill introduces a new regulation with three key components: concessionaires and gaming junkets must create a system to control credit risk and handle credit business responsibly; they must keep records of their credit activity and employ security measures to protect data; and they must also develop a mechanism for addressing customer complaints.

Regarding the credit risk control system, Ryan Ho considers that it convert previous administrative regulations into law, formalizing existing gaming credit rules. Macau’s gaming regulator implemented a series of administrative regulations in response to the Dore junkets operator scandal in 2015.

Under the new bill, Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) will oversee the credit activities of concessionaires and any junkets with whom they enter into agreements. This bill also ensures that the DICJ’s supervisory staff can monitor these activities at any time without prior warning.

According to the new bill, monitoring officers must be granted access to the location where they will be carrying out their duties and be allowed to complete the monitoring work. Another bill also creates a penalty scheme for concessionaires and junkets violating relevant regulations. Concessionaires will be fined between MOP2 million ($248,000) to MOP5 million ($620,000) if they conduct credit operations through another entity or transfer credit qualifications in any form to another person. Under the legislation, junkets will be fined between MOP600,000 ($74,300) and MOP1.5 million ($186.000) for breaches.

The draft bill was published on the Legislative Assembly’s website early this week. The Macau government expects the new law to come into force on January 1st of next year.