The new law regulating the city’s junkets – officially known as gaming promoters – should be passed by the Legislative Assembly before 15 August, when the legislature’s summer recess is slated to start, Lawmaker Andrew Chan Chak Mo has said.
Speaking after yesterday’s closed-door meeting reviewing the city’s gaming amendment bill with government officials, Chan, who chairs the Legislative Assembly’s 2nd Standing Committee, said that the meeting went “very smoothly”, adding that a future law on junket operators needed to be passed as soon as possible so that the government’s gaming concession bidding process can start.
The meeting was attended by Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong and other government officials, including 10 lawmakers who are not members of the 2nd Standing Committee but are entitled to attend the meeting without taking an active part in them.
The gaming amendment bill proposes that junket operators can only engage in gaming promotion businesses, and only in the form of a company, in exchange for “commissions” from the gaming concessionaires, so they will no longer be allowed a share in the concessionaires’ revenues.
In response to the changing role of the gaming promoters, Chan quoted the government officials at the meeting as saying that it will no longer be an administrative regulation but a specific law that will regulate the operations of Macao’s junket operators.
The future law will also clearly define the operations of casino management companies and gaming promoters as well as individuals they have hired.
It will also define the scope of the business activities and responsibilities of the respective companies and individuals, Chan quoted the officials as saying.
According to the bill, future gaming concessionaires will not be allowed to share their revenues with, or pay commissions to, the management companies but are only permitted to pay them a management fee.
Chan stressed that the gaming operating rights will only be granted by the government to a maximum of six concessionaires, and that the future gaming concessionaires will not be allowed to transfer those rights to third parties.
Chan quoted the government officials as saying that the bill proposes that management companies can partially or fully manage casinos through an agreement signed with any of the future concessionaires, which includes duties such as security, casino operations and administration.
Asked whether the management fee could be adjusted. Chan responded that it would be an officially fixed amount in general and that any adjustments would need to be approved by the city’s Chief Executive, The Macau Post Daily reported.