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MACAU CONSIDERS LEGALISING ONLINE GAMBLING

Adriano Ho, Head of the DICJ, said the government was conducting studies on the possibility.

Macau.- Gaming authorities in Macau have confirmed they are studying the possibility of legalising online gambling, but raised concerns over its potential use for money laundering.

Adriano Ho, director of the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) confirmed the study was ongoing in a written answer to the legislator Jose Pereira Coutinho, who inquired about using online gaming opportunity to increase tax revenue while the travel restrictions remain in place.

Tax collection on gross gaming revenue in October was down 74 per cent year-on-year, after six months at more than 90 per cent below 2019 levels.

The Philippines has begun allowing major operators to take online bets from known Philippine patrons. The move aims to aid casinos’ finances after the massive drop in revenues due to the pandemic, but also to boost tax collection.

In Macau, a similar system wouldn’t be of such interest for casinos if they are not allowed to take bets from high rollers in mainland China, which is currently aiming to restrict outflows of cash.

Nonetheless, the DICJ director said that legislating to allow online gambling could increase gaming revenues but that there were concerns it could be a risk for money laundering and for problem gambling. Ho said the government had to conduct “careful studies, which are still on-going.”

He mentioned the DICJ was open to proposals from society and legislators on how to develop the sector and was optimistic about a decrease in complaints related to illegal gambling websites and mobile applications following increased prevention and awareness efforts.




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