Mainland academic urges Macau to enhance the regulation of gaming promoters

The Macau Responsible Gaming Association and the Asian Responsible Gaming Alliance co-hosted a forum on the promotion of economic diversification in Macau on 20 March. The conference invited well-known mainland gaming expert Professor Su Guojing and Professor Zeng Zhonglu of the Macao Polytechnic Institute as the guest speakers. Su Guojing mentioned that Macau’s gaming laws need to be improved as soon as possible to regulate junket operators and urged Macau to build a gaming industry chain to promote diversified development. Zeng Zhonglu pointed out that Macau was too dependent on mainland customers and had to be innovative in its tourism products.

Su Guojing, chairman of the Asian Responsible Gaming Alliance, Beijing Vocational College of Social Management (Training Center of the Ministry of Civil Affairs) and member of the Beijing Economic Committee of the China Democratic National Construction Association, said that gambling was the core industry of Macau. To strengthen the supervision of gambling, the first thing is to have a sound legal and regulatory foundation under the premise of strict management. Compared with other countries or regions, Macau has one more important part of the gaming industry which is the gaming promoter, which is also governed and protected by Macau laws.

He believes that Macau’s existing gambling laws and regulations can no longer cope with problems encountered in the current development of the gambling industry. These issues include the management of gaming promoters and the challenge of online gambling.

When asked about the mainland’s newly amended criminal law, Professor Su said the main purpose of the new law, which makes organized gaming a criminal offence with a maximum jail sentence of 10 years, was to prevent internet fraud and that Macau was not a deliberate target of the new law.

Su Guojing also pointed out that gambling is Macau’s core advantage and Macau should start with the gambling industry to diversify and build a gambling industry chain. He explained that the gaming industry chain includes game design and development, casino equipment (special poker, gaming tables, chips, roulette and other casino-related hardware), software services (casino management, hotel management, customer management, etc.), slot machines, technical standards, marketing services, security engineering, gaming industry exhibition forums and many other aspects.

At present, Macau needs to purchase most of the equipment and services from overseas. If Macau can introduce relevant technologies and internationally renowned manufacturers can implement various forms of cooperation in Macau such as sole proprietorship, joint ventures or co-production, Macau will automatically become a global gaming software, hardware, and service provider.

Zeng Zhonglu, a professor at the Macau Polytechnic Institute and a member of the Economic Development Committee of the Macau Government, said that Macau’s source of customers has become increasingly sparse. Macau needs to make innovations in tourist surveys to understand the reasons for the decline in the number of tourists from neighbouring countries and explore ways to attract non-gaming tourists to Macau.

Song Wai Kit, President of the Responsible Gaming Association, said that economic diversification has always been the central government’s expectation for the future development of Macau and it is also a consensus reached between Macau and the central government over the years. The coronavirus pandemic has proved that economic diversification is the correct way forward for Macau.