Proposed Gambling Law Changes in Macau – What You Need to Know

| October 1, 2021 11:22 am PDT

Recent shakeups to all things gambling in Macau have hit the headlines for many reasons.

The former Portuguese colony will celebrate 22 years under Chinese rule in December. For the most part, the region has enjoyed autonomy when it comes to its greatest export. 

But Beijing’s plans to change the gambling industry in Macau have set off alarm bells for business leaders in the world’s most popular gambling resort.

Investors are waiting on confirmation of plans from the Chinese government on changes to casino regulations, as well as inevitable crackdowns on licensing. All of which could point to a very bleak future for the gambling industry in the region.

Here’s what you need to know about these proposed gambling law changes in Macau.

Gambling Changes in Macau: Order Out of Chaos?

Casino shares plummeted in Macau following moves by the Chinese to impose regulations on gambling in Macau.

Having already seen revenue tumble following the global pandemic, investors’ panic sparked a massive market loss for gambling outlets in September.

It was estimated that almost $20 million was wiped off at the Hong Kong stock exchange in just one day alone.

Outfits such as Wynn Macau, Melco Entertainment, and Sands China watched in horror as collective valuations plunged following news of a region-wide overhaul of gambling.

Lei Wai Nong, who acts as the secretary for economy and finance for Macau, provided operators with notice ahead of a 45-day consultation period that will look to expose failures and cracks in the way things are currently done in Macau.

With highly lucrative gaming licenses set to be presented for bidding in 2022, a sense of chaos abounds.

Investors will likely flee the region if the Chinese government plan to make changes that are out of step with potential profits.

Does the Government Want More Control?

All in all, nine designated points are up for discussion in the region.

Regulation and the number of gaming licenses are set to be reviewed, as are fewer tangible factors including the welfare and treatment of employees employed by casinos.

On the surface of things, this looks like standard practice for any major gambling hub. But investors are not buying it. The most concerning factor for existing businesses, it seems, is the thought of CCP officials supervising all aspects of daily operations.

Authorities have already been accused of imposing further draconian rules on technology companies and the private education sector. These regulatory changes have wiped billions off tech stocks.

Unsurprisingly, those in the casino and gaming business are questioning whether the Chinese government’s involvement in gaming has more to do with control and the possible shutdown of gambling operations than regulation and improvement.

Whatever happens, it looks as though the Macau we know has rolled its last dice.

Changing How Gambling Works in Macau

Known as the “Monte Carlo of the East,” or the “Asian Las Vegas,” Macau is a mecca for casino lovers.

Gambling has been legal in the former autonomous Portuguese colony since 1850. Needless to say, Macau is pretty much synonymous with gambling at this point.

Furthermore, the city that lies on the western Pearl River Delta relies on gambling tourism. A lot. Almost half of the state’s economy comes from gamers traveling from mainland China, Australia, and other close regions.

It is, quite frankly, dependent on people spending money on tables, slots, and other types of betting.

Since Las Vegas-style games were introduced last century, the area has overtaken “Sin City” as the largest gambling hub on the planet.

In Macau, you can typically find a mix of Asian and Western games such as Fan-Tan, roulette, poker, slots, and more. Sports betting and various types of lotteries are legal, too.

The only place to legally gamble in China, Macau is, of course, a hugely popular destination with mainlanders.

So, any changes to this gambling powerhouse are bound to affect the economy and cause a great deal of concern to shareholders and other businesspeople with interests in the region. 

Our guide to gambling in Macau explains how things currently stand. But with vast changes looming, one wonders how the region will look if proposals to shake things up are passed.

Is This the End of Gambling in Macau?

Let’s be honest here. It doesn’t look good.

We could look at potential changes to gambling laws in Macau as an isolated thing. But being real, they are part of a major effort in China to change numerous factors of everyday life. 

The nation’s president, Xi Jinping, is intending to radically overhaul the way things are done in the Asian powerhouse.

Under the guise of “common prosperity,” Xi wants to reshuffle the distribution of wealth, which includes targeting what he considers “vice” while pushing to improve the work-life balance of employees.

A few of those things sound radically bad to the average person. Conversely, it sounds progressive. But some aren’t buying it.

The bottom line is that changes of any kind could be catastrophic for many businesses involved in casino and gaming operations in Macau. Especially ones attempting to recover from the global pandemic.

While it’s too early to say that gambling in Macau is over, it’s safe to suggest that we’re entering a new era of how things work in the region.

Watch this space.

Adam Haynes

Adam is a sports writer and tipster with a strong background in MMA, boxing, and combat sports.

When Adam isn't writing about those, as well as politics, rugby, and Gaelic Games, he can be found working on methods and strategies to beat the bookies.

For his troubles, Adam is a fan of Leinster Rugby, Glasgow Celtic, and trusting the process.

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