Gaming, Gambling & Licensing 2018 Comparisons

Last Updated March 07, 2018

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Law and Practice

The following four types of gaming are permitted in the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR):

  • games of chance (in or outside casinos);
  • pari-mutuels (animal racing – horses and greyhounds);
  • operations offered to the public – sports betting (soccer and basketball) and lotteries (instant and Chinese); and
  • interactive gaming, defined as games of chance in which (i) a prize in cash or equivalent is offered or may be won in the terms of the respective rules; (ii) a player enters or participates in the game via telecommunication means, namely phone, fax, internet access, data network, transmission of video signals or digital data, making or agreeing to make payments in cash or equivalent; and (iii) the game is equally offered or approved as a game of chance or as a gaming machine game in Macao casinos.

With the exception of interactive gaming, all these types of gaming are conceded by the Macao SAR, and only games of chance are not granted in exclusivity to a single entity.

No legal framework has been enacted for interactive gaming.

Games of chance can be exploited in or outside casinos.

The exploitation outside casinos is limited to (i) vessels and aircraft registered in the Macao SAR when outside Macao on routes of touristic interest, and (ii) the post-immigration zone of the Macao International Airport for the operation of gaming machines. Pursuant to Law No. 16/2001 and by means of an Administrative Regulation, the Chief Executive of the Macao SAR determines the rules and specific conditions under which the exploitation of games of chance is permitted outside casinos. However, no Administrative Regulation has ever been enacted, nor has the Macao SAR ever authorised any exploitation of games of chance outside casinos.

Also pursuant to Law No. 16/2001, pari-mutuels cannot be exploited in casinos, and operations offered to the public may exceptionally be exploited if authorised by the Macao government.

Casino gaming operators cannot exploit any interactive games, and the concessions for the exploitation of interactive games are autonomous from the concessions for the exploitation of casino games of chance.

As regards gaming, Macao law departs from a principle of prohibition: if a type of gaming is not permitted, then it is prohibited.

The main legal framework (statutes and regulations applicable) is as follows: 

Games of chance

Aside from the rules of the game and the guidelines issued by the relevant regulatory authorities, in particular the instructions of the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ), the following apply:

  • Law No. 8/96/M (illicit gaming);
  • Law No. 16/2001 (casino gaming);
  • Administrative Regulation No. 26/2001 (casino gaming concessions);
  • Administrative Regulation No. 6/2002 (gaming promoters – junket reps);
  • Law No. 5/2004 (extension of credit for casino gaming);
  • Administrative Regulation No. 26/2012 (gaming machines);
  • Law No. 10/2012 (restrictions on the access to, and work in, casinos); and
  • concession and sub-concession contracts for the exploitation of casino games of chance, signed with Sociedade de Jogos de Macao, Wynn Resorts (Macao) and Galaxy Casino (concessionaires), and with Venetian Macao, MGM Grand Paradise and Melco Crown (Macao) (sub-concessionaires).

Pari-mutuels (animal racing – horses and greyhounds):

  • Executive Order No. 163/90/M (horse racing and pari-mutuels);
  • Law No. 9/96/M (criminal offences related to animal racing);
  • Dispatch of the Secretary for Economy and Finance No. 63/2004 (bets on horse racing via the internet);
  • Dispatch of the Secretary for Economy and Finance No. 64/2003 (bets on greyhound racing via the internet);
  • a concession contract for the exclusive exploitation of greyhound races, signed with the Macao (Yat Yuen) Canidrome Co; and
  • a concession contract for the exclusive exploitation of horse racing, signed with the Macao Jockey Club.

Operations offered to the public

  • Sports betting (soccer and basketball):
    1. Executive Order No. 20/2005 (basketball);
    2. Executive Order No. 138/98/M (soccer); and
    3. a concession contract for the exclusive exploitation of instant lotteries, signed with the Sociedade de Lotarias e Apostas Mútuas (SLOT).
  • Instant lotteries
    1. Executive Order No. 27/86/M (instant lotteries);
    2. Law No. 12/87/M (exploitation of instant lotteries); and
    3. a concession contract for the exclusive exploitation of instant lotteries, signed with the SLOT.
  • Chinese lotteries
    1. Executive Order No. 8/2004 (“Pacapio”); and
    2. a concession contract for the exclusive exploitation of Chinese lotteries (“Chimpupio” and “Pacapio”), signed with the Sociedade de Lotarias Wing Hing.

Ngaming

No legal framework has ever been enacted, nor has the Macao SAR ever granted any concession for the exploitation of this type of gaming.

Other pieces of legislation directly applicable to all types of gaming include the following:

  • Law No. 6/97/M (organised crime);
  • Law No. 2/2006 (money laundering);
  • Law No. 3/2006 (terrorist financing); and
  • Law No. 6/2016 (freezing of assets).

As to the government authorities with regulatory powers:

  • under the Secretariat for Economy and Finance of the Macao SAR government, the DICJ is the primary regulator and supervisory institution for all types of permissible gaming activities. Pursuant to Administrative Regulation No. 34/2003, the DICJ is entrusted with the responsibility of assisting and supporting the Chief Executive of the Macao SAR in the definition and execution of economic policies for the operation of all types of gaming permitted;
  • the Macao Gaming Commission is a consultative body of, and presided over by, the Chief Executive of the Macao SAR, and has the responsibility of formulating policies and facilitating the development of Macao’s casino gaming and relevant regulatory framework; and
  • under the Secretariat for Economy and Finance of the Macao SAR government, the Financial Services Bureau (DSF) is also vested with regulatory powers concerning the accounting of gaming operators.

Pursuant to Macao law, the commercial exploitation of gaming is reserved to the Macao SAR and can only be granted to a different entity by means of a gaming concession throughout an administrative contract.

Moreover, an offence (criminal or administrative) to be enforced must be previously declared in the law (principle of legality).

Laws Nos. 8/96/M and 9/96/M are the only laws directly enforcing criminal offences in the gaming area. Administrative infractions can be found in some of the subsidiary legislation to Law No. 16/2001.

The government authorities that enforce prohibitions on gaming activities are the DICJ, as the primarily regulator of all types of gaming, and the Judiciary Police, a criminal police body vested with exclusive powers to investigate crimes committed in casinos or other gaming venues or their surroundings in relation to crimes related to gaming.

Games of chance

In casinos

Casino games of chance are granted by means of a concession throughout an administrative contract followed by a mandatory public tender open to that effect.

Following the opening of a public tender for the granting of concessions for the exploitation of casino games of chance by the Chief Executive of the Macao SAR, candidates shall meet, inter alia, the following requisites:

  • save for the exceptions provided in the law, be incorporated in the Macao SAR as a limited liability company by shares having the exploitation of casino games of chance as their sole business scope, have a minimum paid share capital of MOP200 million, and be a permanent resident of the Macao SAR holding at least 10% of the share capital as managing director;
  • provide a bond for admission to the tender in the amount determined by Dispatch of the Chief Executive of the Macao SAR;
  • be considered suitable to be granted a concession for the exploitation of casino games of chance (the assessment of suitability includes the company, qualified shareholders holding 5% or more of the share capital, directors and key casino employees, and is based on specific forms that closely follow the Multi-Jurisdictional Personal History Disclosure Form of the International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR));
  • have adequate financial capacity to operate a concession for the exploitation of casino games of chance; and
  • enter into a concession contract for the exploitation of casino games of chance with the Macao SAR.

Outside casinos (vessels and aircraft, and at the Macao International Airport)

Pursuant to Law No. 16/2001, by means of an Administrative Regulation, the Chief Executive of the Macao SAR determines the rules and specific conditions under which the exploitation of games of chance are permitted outside casinos. However no Administrative Regulation has ever been enacted.

Pari-mutuels and operations offered to the public

Each of these types of gaming is granted in exclusivity to a single entity, chosen by direct negotiations.

If and when the Macao government decides to liberalise these types of gaming, a legal framework (also establishing the process for applying) would have to be prepared and passed by the Legislative Assembly of the Macao SAR.

Interactive gaming

No legal framework has been enacted, nor has the Macao SAR ever granted any concession for the exploitation of this type of gaming.

Games of chance

In casinos

Concessions for the exploitation of casino games of chance are granted following a mandatory public tender open to that effect.

The public tender opening notice (issued by Dispatch of the Chief Executive and published, at least, in the Macao Official Gazette and two newspapers, one in Portuguese and another in Chinese) shall make reference to, inter alia, the process of applying and the requirements for the admission of candidates. Moreover, a Public Tender Programme prepared by the Macao government works as a valuable procedural guide, as it describes all the public tender steps.

Outside casinos (vessels and aircraft, and at the Macao International Airport)

Pursuant to Law No. 16/2001, by means of an Administrative Regulation, the Chief Executive of the Macao SAR determines the rules and specific conditions under which the exploitation of games of chance is permitted outside casinos. However, no Administrative Regulation has been enacted.

Pari-mutuels and operations offered to the public

Each of these types of gaming is granted in exclusivity to a single entity, chosen by direct negotiations.

If and when the Macao government decides to liberalise these types of gaming, a legal framework (also creating a process for applying) would have to be prepared and passed by the Legislative Assembly of the Macao SAR.

Interactive gaming

No legal framework has been enacted, nor has the Macao SAR ever granted any concession for the exploitation of this type of gaming.

Games of chance

The Macao SAR follows the IAGR’s Multi-Jurisdictional Personal History Disclosure Form very closely for the assessment of suitability of candidates to a casino gaming concession, and of casino gaming operators, their qualified shareholders (holding 5% or more of the share capital), directors and key casino employees.

Pari-mutuels and operations offered to the public

Each of these types of gaming is granted in exclusivity to a single entity, chosen by direct negotiations.

Interactive gaming

No legal framework has been enacted, nor has the Macao SAR ever granted any concession for the exploitation of this type of gaming.

Games of chance

In casinos

Pursuant to Law No. 16/2001, the Macao SAR is precluded from granting more than three casino gaming concessions.

Notwithstanding, the Macao government has authorised three sub-concessions, permitting each of the casino gaming concessionaires to enter into the sub-concession contract with its respective sub-concessionaire to exploit casino games of chance in the Macao SAR.

Outside casinos (vessels and aircraft, and at the Macao International Airport)

Pursuant to Law No. 16/2001, by means of an Administrative Regulation, the Chief Executive of the Macao SAR determines the rules and specific conditions under which the exploitation of games of chance is permitted outside casinos. Such rules and specific conditions shall strictly follow what is prescribed in Law No. 16/2001 and subsidiary legislation in relation to the exploitation of casino games of chance. However, no Administrative Regulation has yet been enacted.

Pari-mutuels and operations offered to the public

The concessions for the exploitation of each of these types of game are granted in exclusivity to a single entity.

Interactive gaming

No legal framework has ever been enacted, nor has the Macao SAR ever granted any concession for the exploitation of this type of gaming.

No social responsibility requirements for gaming are placed on applicants for licensure, as the Macao laws do not foresee any.

However, the following should be stressed:

  • casino gaming operators have been putting some measures in place in this regard, namely because Macao legislators from time to time voice such a need and the Macao government advises the implementation of measures, particularly in relation to casino gaming operators employees;
  • the Chinese lotteries operator has a contractual obligation to deposit the amount of all unclaimed premiums in a bank account opened in its name specifically to the effect, and to donate them to charitable institutions chosen by the operator and accepted by the Macao SAR; and
  • the instant lotteries and sports betting operator has a contractual obligation to deposit MOP1 million every year to a denominated “Health Fund”, created with an initial capital of MOP2.5 million pursuant to a contractual obligation.

Games of chance

Casino gaming operators' employees working at casinos can be divided into two different categories: casino employees and key casino employees.

Only key casino employees are subject to suitability assessment by the DICJ.

Pursuant to Administrative Regulation No. 26/2001, the relevant functions to determine who would be considered a key casino employee are approved by a Dispatch of the Secretary for Economy and Finance. However, no Dispatch of the Secretary for Economy and Finance has yet been enacted.

Although gaming promoters are not gaming operators, it should be noted that they play a significant role in Macao’s casino gaming industry. Their employees can be divided into three different categories: gaming promoter employees, gaming promoter collaborators and key gaming promoter employees.

Only key gaming promoters' employees are subject to suitability assessment by the DICJ, for which they are required to file a simple form (solely requesting personal data) and provide their ID card copy, criminal record, labour contract and 3 photos. Gaming promoter collaborators are required to file an almost identical form, but with no labour contract or details on the labour relationship being requested.

Pari-mutuels and operations offered to the public

No licensing requirements for employees are set, either in the Macao law or in the concession contracts for the exploitation of each of these types of gaming.

Interactive gaming

No legal framework has been enacted, nor has the Macao SAR ever granted any concession for the exploitation of this type of gaming.

The restrictions in existence include the following:

  • Games of chance (in casinos):
    1. casino gaming concessions can only be granted by means of a public tender, and are granted for a maximum initial term of 20 years renewable up to 5 years;
    2. casino games of chance can only be exploited in casinos authorised and classified as such by the Macao government, are authorised by the Macao government and can only be exploited after the respective rules are approved and published in the Macao Official Gazette;
    3. pari-mutuels and operations offered to the public cannot be exploited in casinos, with an exception made for the direct exploitation of operations offered to the public by casino gaming operators if exceptionally authorised by the Secretary for Economy and Finance;
    4. casino gaming operators:
      1. shall be incorporated in Macao as limited liability companies by shares, have a minimum share capital of MOP200 million, have the sole business scope of exploitation of casino games of chance (and correlative activities pursuant to prior authorisation from the Macao government), and be a permanent resident of the Macao SAR holding a minimum of 10% of the share capital as managing director;
      2. cannot exploit any interactive games and concessions, for the exploitation of interactive games is autonomous from concessions for the exploitation of casino games of chance;
      3. are subject to daily supervision by the DICJ;
      4. shall be considered suitable (as well as its qualified shareholders with 5% or more of the share capital – directors and key casino employees) and maintain the suitability for the term of the concession/sub-concession;
      5. shall hold financial capacity and keep the financial capacity for the term of the concession/sub-concession;
      6. shall, in a timely manner, pay the annual premium (due as consideration for the grant of a casino gaming concession), the special gaming tax (levied on the gross gaming revenue), the contributions (for a public foundation and for urban development, touristic promotion and social security of the Macao SAR) and all other legal taxes;
      7. shall strictly comply with all legal requirements in relation to accounting and auditing;
      8. cannot hold 5% or more of the share capital of another casino gaming operator (as well as its qualified shareholders with 5% or more of the share capital); and
      9. shall enter into a concession contract with the Macao SAR for the exploitation of casino games of chance;
    5. casinos shall be open 24/7, notwithstanding the right of casino gaming operators to establish daily operation hours that shall be notified 3 business days in advance to the DICJ; the suspension of the operation of a casino can only occur in very exceptional circumstances and, as a general rule, is subject to prior authorisation from the Macao government;
    6. by-laws and shareholder agreements (and all amendments) are subject to approval by the Macao government;
    7. the minimum share capital of MOP200 million cannot be withdrawn before the commencement of operations, which is determined by the Macao government;
    8. the transfer to a third party of the exploitation of casino games of chance or of legal or contractual obligations impending to the casino gaming operators is null and void, except if authorised by the Macao government;
    9. contracting a managing company in relation to the exploitation of casino games of chance is subject to approval by the Macao government;
    10. the provision of a bond for admission to the public tender to grant concessions for the exploitation of casino games of chance and a performance bond for the term of the concession/sub-concessions is mandatory;
    11. the use or fruition of Macao SAR assets (moveable or immoveable) may be transferred to the casino gaming operators in exchange for the payment of a rental fee;
    12. all casinos and gaming equipment and utensils are to revert to the Macao SAR without compensation by the term of the concession/sub-concession or on the date referred to in the concession and sub-concession contracts (ie, the date of the initial term of the concession/sub-concession), whichever is earlier;
    13. the Macao SAR may:
      1. sequester a casino gaming concession/sub-concession when an unjustified suspension occurs or is imminent, or when grave deficiencies in the organisation of the casino gaming operator are verified, or as a general condition of the premises or material used for the exploitation of casino games of chance;
      2. redeem a casino gaming concession/sub-concession before its term by compensating the casino gaming operator;
      3. unilaterally terminate the concession/sub-concession due to the casino gaming operator's failure to comply with fundamental legal or contractual obligations; or
      4. unilaterally terminate the concession/sub-concession due to public interest reasons by paying fair compensation to the casino gaming operator, which shall particularly take the time of the concession/sub-concession left and the investments made into consideration.
  • Pari-mutuels
    1. Horse racing:
      1. transfer of shares to third parties are null and void unless authorised by the Macao SAR;
      2. transfer of the rights conferred by the concession contract is subject to prior authorisation from the Macao SAR;
      3. a race sound or image transmission to the outside, particularly by television means, is subject to prior authorisation from the Macao SAR;
      4. acceptance of bets by the operator is restricted to the races promoted, unless authorised by the Macao SAR;
      5. a minimum of 66 sessions or 660 races by season (from 1 Sep to 31 Aug) as per the race calendar approved by the Macao SAR is mandatory;
      6. a government-appointed delegate follows the operator activities;
      7. a performance bond for the term of the concession shall be provided, for at least MOP15 million;
      8. all premises (except the electrical station, totaliser and all moveable assets the operator decides to remove within 60 days following the reversion) revert to Macao SAR by the term of the concession without compensation to the operator;
      9. the Macao SAR may suspend the exploitation of the concession by reasons of internal or international order;
      10. abandonment or unjustified suspension of the operation for more than 60 days constitutes cause for termination of the concession by the Macao SAR; and
      11. total or partial, temporary or definitive, transfer of the exploitation of the concession is subject to authorisation from the Macao SAR.
    2. Greyhound racing:
      1. a race sound or image transmission to the outside is subject to authorisation from the Macao SAR;
      2. acceptance of bets by the operator is restricted to the races promoted, unless authorised by the Macao SAR;
      3. the opening of premises for the exploitation of the concession is subject to prior authorisation from the Macao SAR;
      4. the total amount for premiums to be paid shall be at least 70% of the total amount registered in the totaliser;
      5. transfer of the rights conferred by the concession contract is subject to prior authorisation from the Macao SAR;
      6. a minimum of 160 sessions (considering 1 session equivalent to 1 day of races) and 12 races by session per year is mandatory;
      7. transfer of shares between shareholders and to third parties is subject to prior notification to and prior authorisation from the Macao SAR;
      8. a governmental appointed delegate follows the operator activities;
      9. a performance bond for at least MOP2 million for the term of the concession shall be provided;
      10. exploitation of the concession may be suspended by the Chief Executive of the Macao SAR for reasons of internal or international order;
      11. abandonment or unjustified suspension of the operation (absence of races for 3 consecutive months or during 40 alternate sessions scheduled in accordance with the race calendar in force) constitutes cause for termination of the concession by the Macao SAR;
      12. total or partial, temporary or definitive, transfer of the exploitation of the concession is subject to authorisation from the Macao SAR; and
      13. all buildings, premises and equipment revert to Macao SAR by the term of the concession without compensation to the operator.
  • Operations offered to the public
    1. Instant lotteries and sports betting (soccer and basketball):
      1. the total amount for premiums to be paid shall be at least 47% of the proceeds from ticket sales;
      2. sales outside the Macao SAR are subject to authorisation from the DICJ;
      3. a performance bond for MOP20 million for the term of the concession shall be provided;
      4. total or partial, temporary or definitive, transfer of the exploitation of the concession is subject to authorisation from the Macao government;
      5. abandonment or unjustified suspension of the operation for more than 6 months constitutes a cause for termination of the concession by the Macao SAR; and
      6. a government-appointed delegate follows the operator activities.
    2. Chinese lotteries:
      1. exploitation of the concession may be suspended by the Macao SAR in accordance with the law, in particular for public interest reasons;
      2. a performance bond for MOP1 million for the term of the concession shall be provided; and
      3. the opening of premises for the exploitation of the concession is subject to prior authorisation from the DICJ.
  • Interactive gaming – no legal framework has been enacted, nor has the Macao SAR ever granted any concession for the exploitation of this type of gaming.

Games of chance

In casinos

Concessions for the exploitation of casino games of chance are granted for a maximum initial term of 20 years. If granted for a shorter term, Law No. 16/2001 allows for an extension up to the maximum initial term of 20 years. Afterwards, Law No. 16/2001 allows for one or more extensions of the maximum initial term up to 5 years.

The initial term of the current casino gaming concessions and sub-concessions is as follows.

Concessionaires:

  • Sociedade de Jogos de Macao: 31-Mar-2020;
  • Wynn Resorts (Macao): 26-Jun-2022; and
  • Galaxy Casino: 26-Jun-2022.

Sub-concessionaires:

  • Venetian Macao: 26-Jun-2022;
  • MGM Grand Paradise: 31-Mar-2022; and
  • Melco Crown (Macao): 26-Jun-2022.

Outside casinos (vessels and aircraft, and at the Macao International Airport)

This is not applicable, as no regulations on the subject have been enacted, nor concessions granted by the Macao SAR.

Pari-mutuels

Greyhound racing: Macao (Yat Yuen) Canidrome Co: 20-Jul-2018.

Horse racing: Macao Jockey Club: 31-Aug-2017.

Operations offered to the public

Instant lotteries and sports betting (soccer and basketball)

  • SLOT - Sociedade de Lotarias e Apostas Mútuas: 05-Jun-2021.

Chinese lotteries

  • Sociedade de Lotarias Wing Hing: 31-Dec-2017.

Interactive gaming

This is not applicable, as no legal framework has been enacted, nor has the Macao SAR ever granted any concession for the exploitation of this type of gaming.

Under the Macao law, all decisions are judicially appealable to:

  • the Administrative Court (a first instance court) if the final decision is from a department-level entity such as the DICJ or the Finance Services Bureau;
  • the Second Instance Court if the final decision is from a Secretary of the Macao government; and
  • the Last Instance Court if the final decision is from the Chief Executive of the Macao SAR.

Nevertheless, before being allowed for judicial review, decisions from department-level entities such as the DICJ or the Finance Services Bureau may be subject to a compulsory administrative appeal to the respective Secretary of the Macao government or directly to the Chief Executive of the Macao SAR; for instance, DICJ decisions imposing penalties on the pari-mutuel (horse and greyhound racing) operators.

Games of chance

Aside from the operation of gaming machines, the following games of chance are authorised for exploitation in the Macao SAR according to Law No. 16/2001 and the DICJ’s webpage:

  • 3-card Baccarat;
  • Bacará;
  • Black Jack or Vinte e Um;
  • Boule;
  • Craps;
  • Cussec;
  • Desafio ao Casino;
  • Doze Números;
  • Fantan;
  • Sap I Chi or Jogo de 12 Cartas;
  • Jogo de 13 Cartas;
  • Mahjong;
  • Mahjong Bacará;
  • Mahjong - Pai Kao;
  • Paikao de Duas Pedras;
  • Pachinko;
  • P'ai Kao;
  • Peixe-Camarão-Caranguejo;
  • Poker de 3 Cartas;
  • Poker de 5 Cartas;
  • Poker de Futebol;
  • Q Poker;
  • Roda da Sorte;
  • Roleta;
  • Stud Poker;
  • Super Pan 9;
  • Taiwan - Pai Kao;
  • Makccarat;
  • Texas Holdem Poker;
  • Fortune Poker de 3 Cartas;
  • Fortune 8;
  • Dragão/Fénix; and
  • Omaha Poker.

Pari-mutuels

Horse racing

According to the respective concession contract, the following pari-mutuels are permitted in relation to horse racing results:

  • Pari MutuelWinner (Vencedor);
  • Pari Mutuel Places (Classificados);
  • Quinella;
  • Forecast;
  • Double Win (Duplo Vencedor);
  • Double Quinella;
  • Trio;
  • Trifecta;
  • Triplo vencedor;
  • Quarteto; and
  • Six up.

Also regarding horse racing results, the following lotteries are permitted:

  • Cash Sweep (ordinary and special);
  • Winner Sweep (Vencedor); and
  • Places Sweep (Classificados).

Greyhound racing

According to the respective concession contract, the following pari-mutuels are permitted in relation to greyhound races results:

  • Pari Mutuel Winner (Vencedor);
  • Pari Mutuel Places (Classificados);
  • Quinella;
  • Trifecta;
  • Double Quinella; and
  • Par/Ímpar.

Operations offered to the public

According to the respective concession contract, the following operations offered to the public are permitted:

  • Instant lotteries
  • Sports betting:
    1. Soccer (Lotaria Desportiva – Apostas no Futebol); and
    2. Basketball (Lotaria Desportiva – Apostas no Basquetebal).
  • Chinese lotteries:
    1. Pacapio; and
    2. Chumpapiu.

Interactive gaming

No legal framework has been enacted, nor has the Macao SAR has ever granted any concession for the exploitation of this type of gaming.

Games of chance

The rules for games of chance are approved by a Dispatch of the Secretary for Economy and Finance, and published in the Macao Official Gazette.

Pari-mutuels

Horse racing

According to the respective concession contract, the rules for pari-mutuels authorised by the concession contract in relation to horse racing are approved by the Chief Executive of the Macao SAR after a proposal from the operator.

If the operator requests authorisation to exploit a new pari-mutuel based on the results of horse races, it shall enclose a draft of the rules with the authorisation request.

The rules are published in the Macao Official Gazette.

Greyhound racing

According to the respective concession contract, the rules for pari-mutuels authorised by the concession contract in relation to greyhound racing are approved by the Secretary for Economy and Finance.

If the operator requests authorisation to exploit a new pari-mutuel based on the results of greyhound races, it shall enclose a draft of the rules with the authorisation request to the DICJ.

The rules are published in the Macao Official Gazette.

Operations offered to the public

Instant lotteries

The rules are published in the Macao Official Gazette.

If the operator requests authorisation to exploit new lotteries, it shall enclose a draft of the rules for the DICJ’s approval with the authorisation request.

Chinese lotteries

According to the respective concession contract, the rules of the Chinese lotteries authorised by the concession contract are approved by the Chief Executive of the Macao SAR, after a proposal from the operator.

If the operator requests authorisation to exploit new lotteries, it shall enclose a draft of the rules with the authorisation request for the DICJ’s approval.

The rules are published in the Macao Official Gazette.

Interactive gaming

No legal framework has been enacted, nor has the Macao SAR ever granted any concession for the exploitation of this type of gaming.

Games of chance

Under Law 16/2001, the Macao SAR is a “continuous gaming zone”. As a consequence, casinos shall be open 24/7, notwithstanding the right of casino gaming operators to establish daily operation hours, which shall be notified to the DICJ 3 business days in advance.

The suspension of the operation of a casino can only occur in very exceptional circumstances and, as a general rule, is subject to prior authorisation from the Macao government.

Pari-mutuels

Horse racing

There are no restrictions in the law or the respective concession contract regarding hours of operation for gaming facilities.

However, under the respective concession contract, there is a mandatory minimum of 66 sessions or 660 races by season (from 1 Sep to 31 Aug) as per the race calendar approved by the Macao SAR. Moreover, the suspension of operations for more than 60 days constitutes cause for termination of the concession.

Greyhound racing

There are no restrictions in the law or the respective concession contract regarding any gaming facility’s hours of operation.

However, under the respective concession contract, there is a mandatory minimum of 160 sessions (considering 1 session equivalent to 1 day of races) and 12 races by session, per year. Moreover, the suspension of the operation (ie, absence of races for 3 consecutive months or during 40 alternate sessions, scheduled in accordance with the race calendar in force) constitutes cause for termination of the concession.

Operations offered to the public

There are no restrictions in the law or the respective concession contract regarding any gaming facility’s hours of operation.

Interactive gaming

No legal framework has ever been enacted,  nor has the Macao SAR ever granted any concession for the exploitation of this type of gaming.

Games of chance

Casinos are authorised and classified as such by the Macao government, the significance of which is directly linked to the fact that casinos revert to the Macao SAR without compensation upon the extinction of the concession/sub-concession, or at the date provided in the concession and sub-concession contracts, whichever is earliest.

Pursuant to the concession and sub-concession contracts, casinos shall constitute an independent unit duly registered as such and, as a general rule, shall be located in buildings belonging to the casino gaming operator.

Pari-mutuels

Horse racing

Pursuant to the respective concession contract, the hippodrome in use shall have “capacity to accommodate a minimum of 15,000 people, a central air conditioning system and a CCTV system, restaurants, a bar, stables for at least 700 horses, a storage room for harness and other accessories, facilities for firemen, police and a medical station, in addition to other facilities essential for the exploitation of the concession, namely two special racing tracks”.

Greyhound racing

No physical requirements for gaming facilities can be found in the law, nor in the respective concession contract.

Operations offered to the public

No physical requirements for gaming facilities can be found in the law, nor in the concession contract.

Interactive gaming

No legal framework has been enacted, nor has the Macao SAR ever granted any concession for the exploitation of this type of gaming.

Under Law No. 7/89/M (advertising law), the advertisement of games of chance is prohibited if they are the “main focus of the advertising message”.

In 2015, the Economic Services Bureau of the Macao government issued an Instruction on the subject, with its interpretation of permissible advertisement in relation to gaming.

Pursuant to Law No. 5/2004, only casino gaming operators and gaming promoters may, as credit providers, issue credit to players. The issuance of credit is restricted to casino games of chance, and is defined in Macao law as the transmission of the ownership of casino gaming chips from a credit provider to a third party without immediate payment in cash or equivalent for such transmission.

The Macao government may suspend the issuance of credit activity or impose conditions on a credit provider if htere are major violations of the applicable laws and regulations, or if a lack of technical capacity for the exercise of such activity is revealed.

A violation of the laws and regulations applicable to the issuance of credit is taken into consideration for the assessment of the casino gaming operator or gaming promoter's suitability.

Save for the exceptions provided for in the law, data on the issuance of credit (such as the player's name, accounts used and transactions made) is subject to a duty of confidentiality.

Games of chance

Pursuant to Law No. 10/2012, casino gaming operators are permitted – and in some cases required – to exclude certain players.

As a general rule, casino gaming operators reserve the right of admission – ie, they can prevent the entry or determine the exit of persons whose admission they consider inconvenient, without prejudice of the principle of non-discrimination.

Casino gaming operators shall expel individuals from the casino who:

  • refuse to be identified (upon request of a police authority, a DICJ inspector or a casino director);
  • infringe the official rules of the games;
  • cause disturbances;
  • sell or attempt to sell goods or services in the casino without authorisation from the respective casino gaming operator; or
  • disrupt the proper casino operation or trouble the other patrons with their behaviour or presentation.

Entrance to casinos is prohibited for:

  • minors under 21 years old;
  • those judicially declared interdicted or incapacitated;
  • those with a psychiatric anomaly;
  • Macao civil servants, including public institute workers and the agents of the Macao Forces and Security Services, except if authorised by the Chief Executive of the Macao SAR;
  • those who are drunk or under the influence of drugs;
  • those carrying guns, bombs or explosives;
  • those carrying devices that are mainly used for image or sound registry or that do not have any other relevant utility except such registry, except if authorised by the respective casino gaming operator; and
  • those who have requested the DICJ to prohibit their entry into casinos, or if a request made to that purpose is confirmed by a relative (while the approved interdiction is in force).

Gaming activity is prohibited for:

  • the Chief Executive of the Macao SAR;
  • the holders of the main governmental posts;
  • the Executive Council members; and
  • the members of the casino gaming operator's corporate bodies as well as their invitees if accompanied by them in the casinos operated by that casino gaming operator.

Pari-mutuels and operations offered to the public

Exclusion of players cannot be found in the law or the respective concession contracts.

Interactive gaming

No legal framework has been enacted, nor has the Macao SAR ever granted any concession for the exploitation of this type of gaming.

Pursuant to the Macao Commercial Code, all companies are required to keep accounting books and related documents for at least 5 years (a term equivalent to the fiscal prescription term).

Pursuant to the Macao Civil Code, the ordinary prescription term is 15 years.

Games of chance, pari-mutuels and operations offered to the public

Neither the law nor the respective concession contracts (and sub-concession contracts in the case of games of chance) provide for any other special record keeping requirements.

Interactive gaming

No legal framework has been enacted, nor has the Macao SAR ever granted any concession for the exploitation of this type of gaming.

Games of chance

Gaming operators are required to file, inter alia, the Annual Report and the Activities Report with government authorities.

Pari-mutuels and operations offered to the public

Neither the law nor the respective concession contracts provide for any types of reports that gaming operators are required to file with government authorities.

Interactive gaming

No legal framework has been enacted, nor has the Macao SAR ever granted any concession for the exploitation of this type of gaming.

Games of chance

Minimum Internal Control Rules to casino gaming were approved by DICJ’s Instruction in 2006.

In general, DICJ Instructions are not publicly disclosed, which is the case for Minimum Internal Control Rules.

Pari-mutuels and operations offered to the public

As far as is known, no internal controls and procedures are imposed on the operators of these types of gaming.

Interactive gaming

No legal framework has been enacted, nor has the Macao SAR ever granted any concession for the exploitation of this type of gaming.

Pursuant to Administrative Regulation No. 34/2003, one of the most important duties of the DICJ is to supervise and monitor the gaming operators, namely in relation to the fulfilment of their legal, regulatory and contractual obligations.

Games of chance

Casino gaming is under continuous and permanent supervision from the DICJ, through a team of inspectors on site.

The DICJ’s Games of Chance Inspection Unit is charged with supervising and monitoring the casino frequency and operations, and with ensuring the performance of all legal, regulatory and contractual precepts related to games of chance.

Pari-mutuels and operations offered to the public

The DICJ’s Pari-Mutuels Inspection Unit is charged with supervising and monitoring the pari-mutuel and operations offered to the public, and with ensuring their conduction in accordance with the technical rules and applicable laws and regulations.

Moreover, all these types of games have a governmental-appointed delegate to follow the operator's activities.

Interactive gaming

No legal framework has been enacted, nor has the Macao SAR ever granted any concession for the exploitation of this type of gaming.

Pursuant to Administrative Regulation No. 34/2003, the DICJ has the duty to analyse and sanction administrative infractions in accordance with the law.

Games of chance

The DICJ’s Games of Chance Inspection Unit is charged with initiating administrative proceedings in relation to casino gaming infractions, and proposing the applicable sanctions.

Pari-mutuels and operations offered to the public

The DICJ’s Pari-Mutuels Inspection Unit is charged with initiating administrative proceedings in relation to these types of gaming infractions, and proposing the applicable sanctions.

Interactive gaming

No legal framework has been enacted, nor has the Macao SAR ever granted any concession for the exploitation of this type of gaming.

Games of chance

With regard to taxes, casino gaming operators have to pay an annual premium, a special gaming tax and two contributions.

Annual premium

As a consideration for the exploitation of casino games of chance, an annual premium comprising a fixed and a variable portion is due.

The fixed portion is MOP30 million as per the Dispatch of the Chief Executive No. 215/2001, and the variable portion is based on the number and type of gaming tables and gaming machines operated as follows:

  • MOP300,000 per VIP gaming table;
  • MOP150,000 per mass market gaming table; and
  • MOP1,000 per gaming machine.

Special gaming tax

Games of chance are subject to a special gaming tax of 35% levied on the gross gaming revenue, applicable to all games, including gaming machines.

No offset of uncollectable gaming debts is allowed.

Contributions

During the public tender, casino gaming concessionaires are required to proposethe percentage they would be bound to pay during the term of the concession for two different contributions, one up to 2% of the gross gaming revenue to a public foundation in Macao for promotion, development and study of culture, society, economy, education, science and charity events, and another up to 3% of the gross gaming revenue for urban development, tourism promotion and social security of the MSAR.

As per the casino gaming concession and sub-concession contracts, the casino gaming operators are bound to pay 1.6% of gross gaming revenue as a contribution to a public foundation in Macao, and 2.4% of gross gaming revenue as a contribution for urban development, tourism promotion and social security of the MSAR, with an exception made for SJM, which is only required to pay 1.4%, as it is jointly liable with the dredging provider company due to the dredging obligation.

The following fees apply:

  • Investigation fees: casino gaming operators shall bear (at cost) all costs incurred by the Macao government for investigations conducted for assessing the suitability and financial capacity of the casino gaming operators and its qualified shareholders, directors and key casino employees.

If the assessments are conducted during the public tender (to grant concessions for the exploitation of casino games of chance), costs will be deducted from the bond provided for admission to the public tender. If the assessments are conducted after the public tender, the cost is notified by the DICJ to the casino gaming operator for payment.

  • Fees related to the casino gaming concession contracts: aside from the stamp duty legally due, notary fees are also incurred with the signing of the concession contracts.

Pari-mutuels (animal racing – horse and greyhound)

Horse racing

The horse racing operator is subject to pay an annual rent of MOP15 million and a tax on the total annual amount of the bets registered in the totalizer, in accordance with the chart below:

On the difference between:

(MOP)

Rate

2.5 millions and 3 millions

0.5%

3 millions and 3.5 millions

1%

3.5 millions and 4 millions

1.5%

4 millions and 4.5 millions

2%

Above 4.5 millions

2.5%

¬

¬

Moreover, and aside from the stamp duty legally due, notary fees are also incurred with the signing of the concession contract.

Greyhound racing

The greyhound racing operator is subject to pay a flat annual tax of MOP1 million in consideration for the granting of the concession in exclusivity, and an annual rent of 25% of the gross revenue (defined as the total amount of the bets registered in the totalizer deducted from the percentage for the premiums).

Moreover, and aside from the stamp duty legally due, notary fees are also incurred with the signing of the concession contract.

Operations offered to the public

Sports betting (soccer and basketball)

A sports betting operator is subject to pay an annual rent, with a minimum of MOP6 million, calculated in accordance with the following:

Gross revenue

(MOP)

Rate

Rent due

(MOP)

Rent due accumulated

(MOP)

Average

rate

0 to

30,000,000

20%

6,000,000

6,000,000

20%

30,000,001 to

40,000,000

22%

2,200,000

8,200,000

20.5%

40,000,001 to

50,000,000

24%

2,400,000

10,600,000

21.2%

50,000,001 to

60,000,000

26%

2,600,000

13,200,000

22%

60,000,001 to

70,000,000

28%

2,800,000

16,000,000

22.86%

70,000,001. to

100,000,000

30%

9,000,000

25,000,000

25%

100,000,001 and above

25%

¬

¬

¬

¬

Gross revenue is defined as the difference between the total amount of sales and the amount that, under the concession contract, shall not be retained by the operator.

Moreover, and aside from the stamp duty legally due, notary fees are also incurred with the signing of the concession contract.

Instant lotteries

The instant lotteries operator is subject to pay an annual rent, with a minimum of MOP1 million, calculated in accordance with the following chart:

Sales

(MOP)

Rent due

(MOP)

0 to 1,.000,000

1,000,000

10,000,001 to 30,000,000

12% of the excess

30,000,001 to 45,000,000

13% of the excess

45,000,001 to 60,000,000

14% of the excess

60,000,001 to 80,000,000

16% of the excess

80,000,001 to 100,000,000

18% of the excess

100,000,001 and above

20% of the excess

¬

¬

Moreover, and aside from the stamp duty legally due, notary fees are also incurred with the signing of the concession contract.

Chinese lotteries

The Chinese lotteries operator is subject to pay an annual premium in the amount of MOP500,000, an annual rent of 23% of the gross gaming revenue (defined as the difference between the tickets sales and the premiums paid), and an additional 5% for the Macao Foundation and 1% for the Montepio Oficial de Macao.

Moreover, and aside from the stamp duty legally due, notary fees are also incurred with the signing of the concession contract.

Interactive gaming

No legal framework has been enacted, nor has the Macao SAR ever granted any concession for the exploitation of this type of gaming.

All gaming equipment is required to be approved by the DICJ.

In fact, pursuant to Administrative Regulation No. 34/2003, one of the DICJ’s duties is to authorise and certify all equipment and utensils used by gaming operators in the exploitation of the respective concessions.

Games of chance

Pursuant to Administrative Regulation No. 34/2003, the DICJ’s Games of Chance Inspection Unit has the competence to analyse the technical specifications of all gaming equipment and utensils, including gaming machines, in view of its authorisation and certification.

The process for the approval of gaming machines, linked jackpot arrangements, central monitoring systems and mobile gaming systems is established in Administrative Regulation No. 26/2012.

Authorisation from the Macao government is required in order for the respective manufacturer to supply its products in the Macao SAR.

Manufacturers are subject to a suitability assessment by the DICJ, unless they are already authorised in a jurisdiction included in a list of jurisdictions approved by the DICJ.

Gaming machines can only be approved by the DICJ if, inter alia:

  • they conform to the Macao Technical Standard for gaming machines;
  • the manufacturer certifies the fulfilment of all legal minimum requirements (including the minimum and maximum return to player of, respectively, 80% and 98%, and compatibility with a central monitoring system);
  • a list of technicians authorised to “assemble, install, repair, program, adapt, modify, provide technical assistance or render maintenance” is provided; and
  • a gaming lab (approved by the Macao government) certifies that the adaptation of the gaming machine to be in operation in the Macao SAR does not affect its operation, security, integrity and audit control.

Pari-mutuels and operations offered to the public

Pursuant to Administrative Regulation No. 34/2003, the DICJ’s Pari-mutuel Inspection Unit has the competence to analyse the characteristics and technical specifications of all equipment and material used in the exploitation of pari-mutuels and operations offered to the public, independently of its nature, and in view of its authorisation and certification.

Interactive gaming

No legal framework has been enacted, nor has the Macao SAR ever granted any concession for the exploitation of this type of gaming.

The gaming authorities' approval is not necessary to conduct foreign gaming, but casino gaming operators are contractually bound to notify the Macao government of its participation or, immediately after its acknowledgement, the participation of any of its directors or dominant shareholder – including the ultimate dominant shareholder or direct or indirect holder of 10% or more of its share capital – in any licensing process or the actual exploitation of casino games of chance in another jurisdiction, directly or though a managing contract.

It should be stressed the gaming industry is the single biggest employer in Macao, employing more than 80,000 workers in the first quarter of 2017, according to the city's latest employment survey.

In addition, several incumbent directly elected legislators have ties to the gaming industry.

Pursuant to a 2016 amendment to Law No. 3/2001 (electoral law), casino gaming operators cannot, “either directly or indirectly, intervene in electoral campaign activities nor practise any acts that may somehow benefit or harm a candidacy in detriment or advantage or another candidacy”. Moreover, the employees shall, “during the exercise of their functions, observe a strictly neutral position over the several candidatures and their proponents”, and are prohibited from displaying “symbols, stickers or other elements of electoral propaganda”.

This amendment would ban casino gaming operators from playing any role in a campaign, as they have long been accused of using their manpower for electoral purposes. As examples, and as reported by the media, in the 2009 elections, the DICJ issued a warning to SJM after several of its dealers were seen wearing shirts supporting Angela Leong’s bid. That same year, Melco Crown workers received e-mails from the company soliciting support for Wong Seng Hong, a Melco consultant and Angela Leong’s number two. In the 2013 elections, there was also criticism over casino operators using their shuttle buses to carry their staff to the voting polls.

Casino games of chance

Law No. 16/2001 stipulates that subsidiary legislation shall be enacted by the Macao government to cover, in particular, the public tender process, the concession contracts, the use and frequency of casinos, the operation of the premises used for the exploitation of casino gaming concessions, the monitoring of gross gaming revenues, casino gaming operators' employees, the practice of casino games of chance and the administrative infractions.

As yet, the only legislation enacted has been on the public tender process and concession contracts (Administrative Regulation No. 26/2001), the frequency of casinos (Law No. 10/2012) and administrative infractions, although restricted to the piece of legislation where they are included (Administrative Regulation No. 26/2002 and Law No. 10/2012).

According to the Political Guidelines presented by the Macao government to the Legislative Assembly of the Macao SAR once a year, several pieces of gaming-related legislation are being prepared, such as:

  • the 2010 Political Guidelines (for the year 2011) presented on 16-11-2010, where reference to a diploma on the “use, frequency and operation of casinos” (with the second semester of 2011 as a tentative conclusion date) and on the “registry and certification of dealers and key casino employees” can be found;
  • the 2011 Political Guidelines (for the year 2012) presented on 15-11-2011, where reference to a diploma on the “localisation, characteristics, frequency rules and operation of casinos” and on “gaming chips” can be found;
  • the 2012 Political Guidelines (for the year 2013) presented on 13-11-2012, where reference to conduction of studies to draft a diploma on the “localisation, characteristics, frequency rules and operation of casinos” can be found; and
  • the 2016 Political Guidelines (for the year 2017) presented on 15-11-2016, where reference to the follow-up on the legal work related to the subsidiary legislation to Law No. 16/2001 to be enacted can be found.

Pari-mutuels and operations offered to the public

As far as is known, no changes to the legal regulatory framework in force for these types of gaming are being considered.

However, the initial terms of all these concessions have already lapsed, and the Macao SAR has been repeatedly renewing the concessions for short terms.

Moreover, it is public information that the horse racing operator has been posting losses for many years now and the Macao Commercial Code determines the dissolution of companies whose net position is inferior to half of the share capital; and the greyhound racing operator was recently granted a deadline by the Macao government to end greyhound races at the current canidrome.

Interactive gaming

As far as is known, the Macao government does not have any intent to enact a legal regulatory framework for this type of gaming, nor is the granting of concessions for the exploitation of this type of gaming being considered.

It should be stressed that, during the Legislative Assembly of the Macao SAR discussions on Law No. 16/2001, the Secretary for Economy and Finance stated that there was no intention to regulate this type of gaming or to grant concessions for the exploitation of interactive games.

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