There were around 430,000 instances in 2017 of casinos in Macau reporting they had refused entry to people under the age of 21, local broadcaster Radio Macau reported on Tuesday, citing data from the city’s gaming regulator.
The quoted figure – a new annual record – is higher than the number of entry denials to under-21s recorded in full-year 2016, which stood at around 350,000 refusals, representing a year-on-year increase of 23 percent, according to numbers issued by the Gaming and Inspection Coordination Bureau, also known by its Portuguese acronym DICJ.
From November 2012, Macau increased the minimum age for entry to casinos from 18 to 21. The move was described at the time as designed mainly to protect locals and encourage Macau young people to stay on in education rather than to become casino dealers straight from high school. Only Macau ID holders can be employed as dealers in the city’s casinos.
The rules state that any person under 21 that enters, works or gambles in a casino will be liable to a fine of between MOP1,000 (US$125) and MOP10,000. A casino operator allowing any person under 21 to enter, work or gamble in a casino will be liable to a fine of between MOP10,000 and MOP500,000.
The Macau government is currently considering introducing rules barring casino workers from taking part in any gaming-related activity inside casinos during non-work hours. The casino regulator is also proposing streamlined proceedings to handle instances where those under 21 are detected on the city’s casino floors. DICJ says the reason is because most people detected breaching the rule are tourists; the introduction of simplified proceedings would make handling of such cases more efficient and reduce related costs, it said in a September 2017 press release.
Local players’ contribution to Macau casino gross gaming revenue is estimated by investment analysts as being small when judged in percentage terms.
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DS Kim, Amanda Cheng and Livy Lyu
Analysts at brokerage JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific)