Gaming promoters (junkets) will be able to continue to operate in the local gaming industry as long as they are attached to a single concessionaire, the draft law on the gaming industry, submitted by the Executive Council to the Legislative Assembly establishes.
In Article 23 solely dedicated to the junkets, the bill notes on clauses 2 that “Each gaming promoter can only perform the activity of gaming promotion in one concessionaire.”
The bill further notes in subsequent sections that licensed junkets cannot pass on any of their activities and responsibilities to third parties to act on their name, with the exception of cases where it is necessary to do so by a stakeholder, board members or employees in the performance of the regular activity or the performance of tasks that support this activity.
Also barred to the junkets is the possibility of exploring special areas of the casinos (VIP rooms) exclusively and under a special contract, a provision that aims to ensure that VIP rooms fall within the responsibility of the concessionaires and cannot be detached or independently operated in any way.
Nonetheless, the possibility of having selective rooms catering to a particular group of players is regulated and provided for in Article 5B.
The provision settled on number 4 of Article 23 also clarifies that junkets can only operate within a system of commission agents.
Article 29 completes the delineation of the relationship between junkets and concessionaires by providing that the concessionaires should retain the taxes attributable to the commissions paid to junkets at the source, calculated according to the gross gaming revenues. A 5% tax over these commissions is also fixed in the draft law.
Govít takes all in
The new bill also clarifies that when a gaming concession is terminated or voided, all the assets from the concessionaire revert to the Macau Special Administrative Region including all the casinos, equipment, and utensils as well as all unfinished gaming investment projects. This reclaiming of assets by the government does not imply the payment of any compensation to the concessionaire, except in the cases where the concession is terminated unilaterally by the Chief Executive (CE) invoking the public interest.
Casinos abroad to require
Another area in which the new gaming law aims to promote changes to the Law 16/2001 is with regard to the authorization needed by local concessionaires to explore gaming activities in other jurisdictions.
While under the current law, the exploration of gaming activities abroad was only subject to authorization from the CE, the new gaming law proposes a preliminary stage during which a Gaming Committee will issue an opinion on the topic before the CE makes a final decision.
The listing of concessionaires on stock exchanges is also subject to prior authorization from the CE and to a baseline rule which states that concessionaires cannot hold over 30% of the total shares on the market. This provision aims to exercise greater control over the ownership and stakeholders of gaming companies, by preventing instances where a non-verified stakeholder can assume a major position within the company via a subsequent acquisition.