Establishing an appropriate “scale” for the Macau gaming-promoter sector was seemingly a factor for the local government in drafting a consolidating bill that covers licensing and regulatory matters for the promoters – also known as junkets – as well as for the city’s so-called satellite casinos.
That is according to Chan Chak Mo, who heads a committee of the city’s Legislative Assembly tasked with deliberating on the bill. Mr Chan’s committee started on Tuesday its initial discussion session on the bill, after the document had a first reading at an assembly plenary session last week.
The bill on junkets and satellite casinos - known as the “Regime for the exploitation of games of chance” – states several licensing criteria for junkets.
They include that only a company – not an individual – can be a licensed entity. Any such company must be established in the Macau SAR, and have share capital of no fewer than MOP10 million (US$1.24 million). Such an entity must also provide a form of guarantee.
Additionally, at least 50 percent of the junket entity’s share capital has to be held by a Macau permanent resident, and the junket entity is also required to possess “adequate financial capacity” and not have been declared bankrupt previously.
Mr Chan said – following his committee’s closed-doors session on Tuesday – the body would seek clarification from the government on the definition of”adequate financial capacity” for licensed junket entities.
“As a clause of the bill suggests, even if a junket company has fulfilled all those licensing criteria, it could still get rejected from getting a licence… as the Macau government needs to consider the scale of the junket sector to determine the licence issuance or renewal,” Mr Chan said. “So, we will ask the government to explain what is the rationale” of the bill’s terms regarding junkets.
The enactment of the bill covering junkets and satellites is due to be aligned with a new generation of Macau casino-concession contracts once the current ones expire this year, although the timing on any new concessions is yet to be clarified.
No date has yet been announced for the final reading by the Legislative Assembly of the consolidating bill on junkets and satellites. August is a “possibility”, Mr Chan said on Tuesday.
Several legislators that are not part of Mr Chan’s committee – including Angela Leong On Kei, co-chairperson and executive director of an incumbent Macau casino operator, SJM Holdings Ltd – were permitted to be observers at the Tuesday meeting.
Mr Chan’s assembly committee had previously been tasked with scrutinising another piece of casino industry legislation: the gaming law amendment bill. The government is currently reviewing that amendment bill, and is expected to come up with a revised version by this weekend. That bill will then undergo further review by legislators, noted Mr Chan in his Tuesday comments.
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