Macau gaming bill limits junkets to one concessionaire each

| By Nosa Omoigui
Macau will limit the provision of services designed to promote gambling, such as junkets, under amendments to the region's gaming bill, which were published in full this week.
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Services to promote games will be limited to a single concessionaire per junket, with the payment for these services only permitted in the form of commissions.

The amendments were drafted after the Executive Council approved a bill, following the Bureau of Gaming Supervision (DICJ) publishing responses to an initial consultation on changes at the end of last year.

Junkets within Macau came under heavy scrutiny following the arrest of SunCity chairman Alvin Chau, which led to his resignation from the company. SunCity also warned that a creditor claimed Chau had defaulted on a HK$300m (£29.0m/€34.0m/US$38.5m) loan when he was arrested in December, a move that it said could lead to a change in control.

Previously announced changes to the gaming bill include granting a ten-year concession to six operators, and a requirement for concessionaires to have a minimum share capital of MOP5bn (£454m/€543m/$621m).

An additional requirement states that 15% of shares in any business granted a licence must be held by a managing director that is a Macau resident.

In addition to those aspects revealed last week, the published bill reveals that the amendments will also include a maximum limit imposed on the number of gaming machines and table games operated within Macau so they can be “better used by concessionaires”.

A minimum limit of annual gross gaming revenue (GGR) per gaming table and gaming machine will be fixed by the Chief Executive.

When new casinos are installed on property owned by an operator, they will be granted a three year transitional period to acclimatise to casino operations after being granted a new licence.

It was also suggested that the new law should come into force the day after its publication.

Although the initial consultation proposed adding government representatives to the board of each concessionaire, this did not make the final version of the bill.

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