Last week, Macau saw the introduction of a new bill that aims to tighten regulations and deter potential breaches of gaming credit practices. According to local news, the legislation has been unanimously passed and will now be reviewed by the Second Standing Committee. During the initial reading of the casino credit bill, three lawmakers voiced their apprehensions regarding the safeguards in place for casino intermediaries.
Ron Lam, Pereira Coutinho, and Leong Sun Iok, the latter a trade unionist, sought clarification from the government on the bill’s potential effectiveness in shielding creditors, reports the Macau Daily Times.
Adriano Marques Ho, the Director of the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ), responded by assuring lawmakers that casino intermediaries currently have a well-functioning mechanism in place. This allows them to assess the amount they will lend to each customer. He also mentioned that casino license holders possess an even more advanced mechanism for recognizing their customers’ credit levels, as per the cited source.
Adriano Marques Ho
For his part, Lei Wai Nong, Secretary for Economy and Finance, stated that creditors have their own risk assessment system. He explained that, except for scenarios specified under Article 11 of the bill concerning confidentiality obligations, creditors are permitted to exchange information on debtors. Nong suggested that further discussions could take place at the Standing Committee.
When Ron Lam inquired about shared access to the bank debtor intelligence platform, the Secretary clarified that there are no plans to implement such an arrangement at this time. Pereira Coutinho also questioned whether the currency exchange market could be liberalized to alleviate illegal currency exchange in casinos. The secretary emphasized that casino operators are allowed to run such businesses, but they must apply in advance.
Lei Wai Nong
Coutinho suggested that the growth of the illicit currency exchange sector in local casinos is due to a lack of competition in legal operations. He pointed out that there are four gasoline brands used by international cars in Macau, but they all offer fuel at the same prices for unleaded, diesel, and premium unleaded products.
Nevertheless, the secretary vowed to carry out further crackdowns to ensure the orderly administration of the casino environment.
Under the new bill, titled “Legal regime of credit concession for gambling in casinos,” only the city’s gaming concessionaires and their partnered gaming junkets can serve as credit issuing entities. Meanwhile, management companies will be barred from engaging in such business.
Central to the bill is the role of the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ), which will be responsible for overseeing the credit activities of both concessionaires and the junkets they partner with. In order to ensure proper oversight, it states that “the supervisory staff of DICJ can perform supervisory duties at any time and without prior notice.”