The Macau government’s proposed rejig of gambling-credit law is unlikely to have much impact on the city’s existing satellite casinos, said Hoffman Ma Ho Man, one of the bosses of Macau gaming resort Ponte 16, in comments to GGRAsia. Though he added that was because such credit issuance had dramatically reduced in the Macau market before and since the new 10-year gaming concessions that started on January 1.
“Since the update of Macau’s gaming regulations [in 2022], we’ve already witnessed the collapse of the whole gambling credit business in the market… so I don’t think it [the new bill] is going to cause any further huge impact,” Mr Ma, deputy chairman of Hong Kong-listed Success Universe Group Ltd, an investor in Ponte 16, told GGRAsia. The property in the city’s Inner Harbour district, runs under the gaming licence of SJM Holdings Ltd.
The latest legal proposal – on casino concessionaire- and junket-issued credit for gambling – was briefly outlined on April 21 by the city’s Executive Council, an advisory body to the government. Under some of its provisions, the so-called ‘management companies’ – the new term for the non-concessionaire entities permitted to run satellite casino venues under a concessionaire licence – would not themselves be allowed to “establish any casino gaming credit contract” or perform any related “legal acts”.
The bill is yet to be scrutinised by Macau’s Legislative Assembly.
The proposed law “makes sense”, in terms of at least clarifying to the industry and to investors, the entities allowed to extend gaming credit, remarked Mr Ma.
The Ponte 16 boss said he expected “very limited” impact from the new bill on the city’s continuing satellite casino operators, as most of them offer cash-play mass-market gambling.
Macau is now down to 11 satellite casinos in the new-concessions era. Regulatory changes in the run-up to the new system, allow third-party promoters of satellite casinos the option to transform themselves respectively into a management-company entity, following a three-year grace period. Such management companies will not be permitted to share revenue with a satellite casino’s licensee, a change from previous practices.
Macau-based gaming lawyer Bruno Ascenção, told GGRAsia in some commentary on the proposed gaming-credit law, that the Macau government’s “main objective is to be seen as proactive in fighting capital flight out of China, which is arguably seen as a threat to its [China's] national security”.
The lawyer added: “The objective is to limit the entities capable of granting credit for casino gaming, i.e., gaming concessionaires and gaming promoters. There is also this [policy] obsession [against] credit stability getting out of hand, and thus having an impact on economic and social stability.”
A separate law regulating the city’s junkets and management companies, known as Law No.16/2022, forbids so-called “collaborators” – people who have traditionally cooperated with Macau junkets and assisted their gaming promotion business – from issuing gambling credit.
Law No.16/2022 also says management-company entities are prohibited from having a management contract with more than one gaming concessionaire, and are forbidden from “managing the financial activities” of the casinos, namely, the “accounting or settlement of chips and funds arising from gambling”.
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