The Macau Legislative Assembly (AL) will conduct its first reading of a bill on amendments to the Macau Gambling Law today.
The draft law, titled “Amendment to Law No. 16/2001 – Legal framework for the operation of games of chance in casinos”, was published last week ahead of a planned new tender for the concessions of casinos. The current 20-year licenses of the six Macau dealers all expire at midnight at the end of June 26, 2022.
Once the AL completes its first reading and votes on the content of the bill, it will be sent to a subcommittee for possible review before returning to the AL for a second and final reading.
There is no timeline for the completion of this process, although analysts’ and industry commentators’ estimates have varied from as little as two months to as long as 12.
However, Inside the Asian Game anticipates an extremely aggressive approach to the passage of the bill by the AL, which will see the bill become law perhaps as early as the end of February. Any lengthy process would make it difficult for the government to complete the new tender by June 26 and open the door to an extension of the current licenses. The government has already said that such an extension would be for a “short term”, which AGI interprets to mean maybe six months.
Among the amendments to Macau’s gaming law contained in the bill are a halved license term of 10 years, the establishment of an official cap on gaming tables and gaming machines, guarantees of minimum revenue levels, any shortfalls to be made up by dealers, a plan to phase out satellite casinos, an increase in the minimum capital each dealer must hold of MOP$200 million (US$25 million) to MOP$5 billion (US$625 million) and new junket rules. These junket rules include a ban on the existence of junket rooms in Macau casinos and revenue sharing agreements between junkets and casino licensees.
The bill also outlines expectations for corporate social responsibility contributions and responsible gaming initiatives.