The Macau government has dropped a ‘duty of collaboration’ proposal from the consolidating bill to regulate junket operators and management companies, but wishes to add to the draft bill powers allowing the city’s casino regulator to disqualify any junket or other covered party that fails to provide information it deems necessary for assessing their suitability and financial capacity.
The news was given by veteran legislator Chan Chak Mo in comments to the media on Tuesday. He leads a Macau Legislative Assembly committee tasked with scrutinising the bill.
“This rule,” of duty of collaboration, “has been deleted,” said Mr Chan, explaining it was deemed by legislators to be “too broad”. He was speaking after a closed-doors meeting.
An earlier draft had said “any person or entity” would have to “collaborate with the Macau SAR Government” including via providing either the local casino regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau – a body also known as DICJ – or if necessary also the Financial Services Bureau, “necessary documents, information, elements or evidence when requested, even if they are documents, information and elements that are subject to the duty of secrecy”.
The proposal would have given “very broad powers” to the authorities, even if the matters concerned would usually have been considered subject to lawyer-client confidentiality or other forms of professional secrecy, two gaming lawyers had outlined to GGRAsia in May.
There are, however, new provisions in the draft bill giving the casino regulator power to disqualify any junket operator, junket collaborator, or “management company”, that fails to provide the regulator any information it deems necessary for reviewing their suitability and financial capacity for engaging in casino gaming business, Mr Chan told reporters.
Such parties would “have to provide to DICJ, and allow DICJ to review, documents that they determine as necessary” for suitability checks, according to a new provision as mentioned by Mr Chan.
The bill would undergo further review by the legal consultants of the government and the Legislative Assembly in the coming month, Mr Chan told the media. A second and final reading would take place in a plenary session of the assembly “by mid-November”, the legislator added.
The Macau government would also consider proposing an exact implementation date for the bill, Mr Chan said. The provisions of the bill, once it is passed, would come into effect at the same time as a new round of up to six, ten-year concessions, according to the bill.
“There is still a bit of uncertainty on whether the new concessions [will] all carry the same start date. So the government is considering [whether] to put an exact implementation date for the bill,” Mr Chan told reporters.
The bill would allow junket operators and their collaborators to deposit cash or gaming chips on behalf of their patrons, provided such processing is only via customer accounts established with the gaming concessionaires,
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