Lawmakers in Macau gave their first nod to a new bill regulating gaming credit on Thursday, marking the first step in its passage. Lawmaker Ron Lam U Tou is pushing for more protection for lenders by including gaming operators and junkets in the Credit Data Platform for banks that came into service on January 1st of this year.
Lam questions if the government want to improve the industry environment by pushing more transparency regarding loan provisions to gamblers, questioning “even the banks themselves needed a centralized system for credit information, would it be possible to use this to deal with credit issues associated with junkets?”
“There could be threats to the financial system if the banks were unaware of credit on this side,” he added.
Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lei Wai Nong said that government has yet to make a plan to include junkets or gaming operations in the Credit Data Platform, but more details will be discussed further.
Lei stresses that the revision of the gaming credit law is “only to resolve the technical issue and there are no big changes in the general framework”.
Lawmaker Pereira Coutinho asked about the survival issue of junkets in the plenary session of the Legislative Assembly, pointing out that only 12 junkets in the city are operating. Coutinho asked “whether the government wants them to disappear”, questioning government officials on the continuous crackdown on the segment.
Pereira Coutinho also questions if it will be possible to create an easy way for lenders to collect debts in Macau, giving the example of the existing “small claims” system, as the local court has a particular department to deal with monetary claims not exceeding MOP100,000 ($12,400).
According to the draft bill, only casino concessionaires and junkets will be permitted to issue gaming credit. However, licensed junkets may enter into contracts with concessionaires that allow them to issue gaming credit. If the bill is approved, all satellite casinos will be disqualified from issuing gaming credit.
The bill submitted in April is expected to come into effect in January 2024.