The government has finished drafting a bill that, if enacted, will explicitly prohibit online betting and parallel betting, as well as raise penalties for certain illicit gambling activities, the Macau Post Daily reports.
The new law would replace one enacted in 1996, Secretary for Administration and Justice André Cheong announced yesterday. He said that the government was committed to combating illegal gambling.
Several now defunct junket operators reportedly ran so-called parallel (or, under the table) betting schemes that reduced the amount of tax paid to the government. The new bill clearly defines this practice as illegal, Cheong said.
It also proposes to expressly bar the operation, promotion and organisation of online gambling activities – regardless of where their IT systems are based.
Given that illicit gambling activities often take place at night, Cheong said the bill would allow police to search private homes between 9 pm and 7 am in the course of investigating suspected gambling crimes.
Under the current law, police need residents’ permission to search homes during these hours.
While current laws punish illegal gambling activities with prison terms of up to three years, the new bill would raise this to eight years.