Problems arising from the gaming industry’s operation and development could have an adverse impact on Macao’s public security and social stability, Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak has warned.
Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, Wong has refrained from commenting on the impact of the gaming sector on public security, saying that gaming-related crime statistics “were not representative and comparable” due to the adverse impact of the pandemic.
Wong noted that the local government has proposed amendments to the city’s gaming industry law, which are being reviewed by lawmakers. He said that gambling-related illegal currency exchange activities continue to have a certain adverse impact on the city’s public security.
Macao reported three homicide cases involving illegal money changers between 2019 and last year, and police believe that the double homicide case earlier this month might also have been related to illegal currency exchange activities.
Wong stressed that while Macao’s unemployment rate has been increasing since the first quarter of last year due to the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the local economy, the total number of reported crimes has been dropping during the period. Consequently, the police have concluded that so far the rise in unemployment rate has had no impact on the city’s public security, The Macau Post Daily reported.
Wong noted that the government decided earlier this month to propose a revised version of the gaming industry amendment bill that would allow the continuation of gaming operators’ “satellite casinos” run by third parties in real-estate not owned by the operators, adding that the revised version of the bill would “help the operators of satellite casinos eliminate their concerns about their future business prospects, and consequently would help relieve the gaming sector’s unemployment predicament resulting from the serious ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic”.