Macau continues to iron out its gambling laws, with another reading this week and further revisions in April. These laws will, among other things, introduce critical changes to which casinos from the Special Administrative Regions (SAR) of China can operate. The Legislative Assembly committee responsible for clarifying and reviewing new regulations and rules could complete the final draft by April 2022 and ready it for a presentation and approval before June 26.
One of the issues that the latest draft deals with concerns the casino satellites in Macau. New rules force these gambling joints to become a part of one of six concessionaires. They will have three years to cut a deal with casino operators. However, lawmakers are considering the possibility of prolonging this period to five years.
Labour groups expressed their worries about new demands for casino satellites. They stated it would lead to the closure of many such establishments and a stark increase in unexpected and permanent job losses. New rules could go into effect later this year or at the start of 2023.
Macau currently has 18 casino satellites, with 14 working under SJM Holding’s license, three cooperating with Galaxy Entertainment, and one in partnership with Melco Resorts and Entertainment. Lei Wai Nong, the Secretary of Economy and Finance, said that because of the potential growth in unemployment, the laws had included a three-year grace period for satellites.
Another point of contention that new laws bring is with the six casino concessions. These satellite casinos have worked professionally and responsibly so far. However, according to new regulations, a gaming operator that does not get a new concession will have to disband its gaming operations. They can, however, continue with non-gaming activities.
This also means that more people connected with these casino operators will be held responsible for its finances. Any shareholder with a 5% stake in the company or more, concessionaires’ management team, and the company’s directors will be obligated to guarantee the operator’s liabilities personally, including backing up all of the gaming chips it has in circulation.
While this change could herald a possible break from the country’s Commercial Code, the government officials have stated that these modifications are necessary due to Macau’s evolving infrastructure.