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Legislators double down on bill regulating gaming promoters

Junket organisers likely to be held accountable for illegal deposit taking; six weeks left before deadline to appoint six new concessionaires.

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Junket organisers likely to be held accountable for illegal deposit taking; six weeks left before deadline to appoint six new concessionaires.

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 12:35 am

Casino junket representatives will be held accountable for illegal deposit taking, according to a bill aiming to regulate gaming promoters that are currently being reviewed by the Legislative Assembly’s 2nd Standing Committee.

The previous version of the bill proposed that the offence of illegal deposit taking was to refer to “any person” in the gaming industry, including the city’s gaming concessionaires, management companies hired by concessionaires, gaming promoters and their sub-agents (officially called “collaborators” by the bill).

Lawmaker-cum-restaurateur Andrew Chan Chak Mo, who chairs the committee, stressed that the revised version of the bill now proposes that liability be imposed on natural persons rather than legal persons, meaning the representatives of gaming concessionaires, management companies hired by concessionaires, gaming promoters, and their collaborators.

The latest version of the junket bill proposes to ban illegal deposit taking, where a junket operator, management company or its collaborator request, solicit or accept a deposit in cash or gaming chips from others with the intention of obtaining benefits from casino gambling.

However, according to the latest version of the bill, the junket operators and their collaborators hired by them are allowed to deposit the cash or gaming chips on behalf of the gamblers into a special account opened by the respective gaming company.

Chan quoted the clarification by government officials – who were present at the meeting – of the scope of illegal deposit taking, which would only be illegal if the cash or deposits were accepted for gaming activities, as evidenced by the respective exchange or transaction records with the respective concessionaire.

Chan noted that the latest version of the bill proposes that the government’s policy secretary for economy and finance should stipulate the maximum number of junket operators that each gaming concessionaire could hire each year, which would be published online by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ).

According to Chan, there are currently 46 gaming promoters licensed by the DICJ. Chan said the government officials told the committee that the 46 junket operators would be allowed to continue their business if they are hired by any of the future gaming concessionaires.

Chan also said the committee would hold a number of “technical” meetings to discuss the provisions with the government, adding that he expected the committee to complete its article-by-article review of the bill and submit it to the Legislative Assembly next month.

The government is currently assessing seven bids for as many as six new gaming concessions that are slated to be granted by the end of the year, The Macau Post Daily reported. 

 

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 12:35 am

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