Macau’s Court of Final Appeal has issued a ruling stating that the city’s six casino concessionaires should not be labelled as “companies operating on an exclusive basis”. The decision sets a binding precedent for the city’s courts, according to a document published on Monday on the city’s Official Gazette.
The ruling means that the thousands of workers currently employed by these companies should not be treated for the purposes of any criminal proceedings in the same way as civil servants.
It states that Macau casino workers will not be subject to the types of penalty outlined in Macau’s Criminal Code that are applicable to civil servants.
Article 336 of the city’s Criminal Code states that “members of managing, oversight and other boards and the workers” of concessionaires of public services or goods, or companies operating on an exclusive basis shall be comparable, for criminal purposes, to civil servants. The same concept applies to workers in public companies, companies with public capital, or with a majority shareholding of public capital.
There had previously been different interpretations from the city’s courts on the matter of comparability of casino staff to civil servants, based on the interpretation on whether gaming concessionaires operated on an exclusive basis.
In its recent ruling, the Court of Final Appeal said it took into consideration that “one of the most significant reforms” in Macau’s gaming law was the “end of the traditional ‘exclusive’ model”, which was why the court stated that within the city’s existing legal framework, the operation of games of chance in casinos was “no longer granted on an exclusive basis”.
The decision said gaming was not to be seen as a monopolistic operation run by a single company, but an operation run by several companies under a special authorisation from the Macau government.
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