Macau casino and junket operators seek clarification of new gambling law

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FILE PHOTO: People visit the ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral in Macau. There, on February 19, 2020, the casino was closed for two weeks due to the outbreak of a new coronavirus in China. Reuters / Alexander Solum

September 21, 2021

far master

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Senior Macau casino and junket officials met with officials from the world’s biggest gambling hub on Monday for details of proposed regulatory changes, but had no way of clarifying. ..

The 70-minute meeting, presented online, has highlighted the uncertainty that has been in the industry since the government began reviewing the rules on September 14. Year.

The conference was the only official occasion for the industry to express their views during the 45-day sports consultation. Sands China, Wynn Macau, Galaxy Entertainment, MGM China, Melco Resorts and SJM Holdings participated.

Macau officials have identified nine areas of potential change, with government representatives overseeing daily casino operations, number of licenses, better regulation and employee welfare.

During the meeting, industry executives agreed that Macau’s 20-year gaming law needed to be updated to ensure support for Macau’s development as an international tourism hub. Buddy Lam, senior vice president of public relations at Galaxy, said in a meeting that he needed more information on several areas, including referrals for government representatives and clarification of potential responsibilities and penalties for criminal activity. He added that the company is confident it can “strike a balance between national interests and business demands.” Macau’s lawyer Rui Cunha, representing the SJM, argued that future licensing periods should take into account investments in the former Portuguese colony.

A junk operator, a middleman who brought a wealthy Big Whale Chinese gambler to Macau, has sought to clarify amendments to criminalize the acceptance of cash deposits, which are now a common practice. I spoke out loud.

Kwok Chi Chung, president of the city’s junket association, spoke about how to legalize junket practices and how businesses can raise money from the public to help the junk industry build a “better image.” I asked if you would like China’s relentless crackdown on capital flight and illegal remittances has reduced the junket operator’s share of Macau’s total game revenue to nearly a third from its previous high of nearly 80%. .. One of the major concerns of concern are casino operators by investors who are concerned that US casino operators such as Sands, Wynne and MGM face greater risk than their local rivals. It is proposed to increase the ownership of the casino’s local director.

Macau’s permanent residents currently have 10% voting rights over their operators. Louis Lau, investment director at Brands Investment Partners, which invests in Macau casinos, said: “Sands China has lost 37% in value since its announcement last week, while Wynn Macau is down 33% and MGM China is down 26% .

Officials plan to hold four more consultations with the general public in October.

(Reporting by Farah Master, Additional reporting by Sarah Cheng, Edited by Edwina Gibbs)

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