In Macau and a prominent local academic has reportedly suggested that the enclave could help to mitigate some of the adverse consequences of the recent coronavirus pandemic by legalizing online gambling.

According to a report from Inside Asian Gaming, Zhonglu Zeng is a professor at the Macao Polytechnic Institute’s Gaming Teaching and Research Centre and revealed that the time is now right for the local government to conduct research into the feasibility of licensing small-turnover social gaming and betting operations.

Earnings expansion:

Zeng reportedly told the source that legalizing online gambling would allow Macau to bring in much needed tax revenues while simultaneously permitting local casino firms to further diversify their businesses. His announcement purportedly comes as the city is preparing the groundwork for a public tender that is set to determine who will be allowed to operate gambling venues beyond the summer of 2022.

Zeng reportedly stated…

“One of the biggest concerns is that online gaming is forbidden in mainland China. However, mainland China bans any kind of gambling. Macau is a special enclave that allows gambling in China. So, Macau also has the space to explore opportunities for online gaming. Network security could also easily block users from mainland China from accessing Macau’s online gaming platform. It is just a technical issue.”

Established examples:

Regarding concerns over money laundering and Zeng reportedly suggested that Macau’s government could draw upon the experience of nations where online gambling is already legal, such as the United States and the United Kingdom.

Reportedly read the statement from Zeng…

“Even though the re-tendering of gaming concessionaires would not include the considerations of online gaming, the Macau government should start research and discussion about online gaming in the short-term. 5G and the Internet are the ways of the future so Macau should use these to find more opportunities.”

Existing edicts:

Carlos Eduardo Coelho from local legal firm MdME Lawyers reportedly told Inside Asian Gaming in March that Macau’s gaming regulations from 2001 already allow players to enjoy gambling via ‘telephone, fax, Internet, data networks and video or digital data transmission.’ However, he explained that the enclave’s government has not yet issued regulations relating to any form of iGaming and has remained tight-lipped when it comes to the possibility of granting associated licenses.

Zeng reportedly told Inside Asian Gaming…

“I definitely expect that Chief Executive [Ho Iat Seng] will require gaming concessionaires to carry out more responsibilities regarding diversification of the economy as well as adding more non-gaming elements and that these requirements should be written in the new gaming concessions.”