Draft gaming legislation currently being debated in Macau could reportedly allow the enclave’s Chief Executive to rapidly terminate any local casino operating license should the holder be found to have breached a range of national security rules.

According to a report from Inside Asian Gaming, the former Portuguese territory’s proposed Amendment to Law Number 16/2001 is currently being subjected to behind-closed-door deliberations following a successful first reading in January. The source detailed that this measure is also expected to allow every one of the jurisdiction’s six casino operators to extend their existing licenses by a further ten years to June of 2032 following the completion of a fresh tendering process.

Operator obligation:

Macau is home to over 40 casinos run by SJM Holdings Limited, Galaxy Entertainment Group Limited, Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited, MGM China Holdings Limited and the local Wynn Macau Limited and Sands China Limited subordinates of Wynn Resorts Limited and Las Vegas Sands Corporation respectively. However, the source detailed that every one of these firm’s current licenses are due to expire in June with the draft gaming bill proposing to extend their existing concessions so long as they agree to abide by a strict set of new rules.

Rapid reaction:

Legislator-cum-restauranteur Andrew Chan Chak Mo (pictured) is leading the confidential deliberations on the proposed legislation and he reportedly revealed that the measure could eventually contain a clause that would allow the enclave’s Chief Executive to quickly cancel any casino concession without compensation if the holder is suspected of endangering the security of the state.

Chan reportedly stated…

“If the security of the state was involved, the government would use the ‘concept of uncertainty’ rather than the National Security Act to deal with it. However, the judicial process would be dilatory and the license term might even over by then. Therefore, an administrative order would be a better option.”

Plea possibility:

Chan reportedly moreover disclosed that any such cancellations may need to involve deliberations with the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau regulator and oblige the Chief Executive to provide supporting evidence of criminal activities such as treason, subversion, sedition or spying. The legislator purportedly furthermore noted that concessionaires may additionally be given the right to appeal suspensions through litigation.

Coming cut-off:

Inside Asian Gaming reported that the final version of the draft gaming legislation is now widely expected to be voted on by the 33-member General Assembly by the end of June in hopes of having everything in place before the expiration of the enclave’s existing crop of six casino operating concessions. Nevertheless, the government of current Chief Executive Ho Iat-Seng purportedly earlier divulged that it may consider short extensions should legislators fail to fully ratify the proposed measure ahead of this looming deadline.