Macau’s gaming regulator got a new boss and one of his agendas: to revamp the city’s gambling laws.
Former Assistant Public Prosecutor-General Paulo Martins Chan was officially sworn in on Tuesday as the new director of the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ). Succeeding Manuel Joaquim das Neves, Chan will take on the role of overseeing the city’s gambling industry, which has been challenged by Beijing’s economic slowdown and crackdown on corruption and more junket heists.
After the ceremony, Chan vowed to review and improve Macau’s gaming-related laws using the DICJ’s mid-term review of Macau’s casino licensees.
“On the basis of the mid-term review of the gaming industry here, I’ll fully examine the gaming related laws and the internal guidelines for VIP gaming promoters,” Chan told the media.
Also on his agenda is putting the bureau in a position to respond to challenges that the gaming industry is facing by improving the industry’s legal framework and monitoring mechanisms.
“If we could lay down the rules of the game, everyone would know what to follow. If something went wrong, penalties would follow,” Chan said. “We also resort to the established set of regulations to settle conflicts.”
Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong Vai Tac, who officiated the inaugural ceremony, believes that Chan will be able to fulfill his tasks and contribute to strengthening supervision of the gaming sector.
Leong told the Legislative Assembly last week that the government would disclose the mid-term review report by early next year once the government finishes assessing a preliminary report from the Institute for the Study of Commercial Gaming at the University of Macau in September.
Macau’s November gaming revenue dropped 32.3% to MOP16.4 billion (about $2.1 billion), marking its 18th straight month of year-on-year declines and the lowest monthly revenue since September 2010. The city’s gross domestic product (GDP) has shrunk 25% in the first three quarters of the year.
Former DICJ director Neves believed that the casino industry has hit bottom and will soon start recovering although it’s unlikely to return to the heights of its early boom years.
“I think we have hit the bottom and starting next year we will have a smooth growth, followed by a stable growth every year – a more sustainable growth,” said Neves.