Macau to Introduce Stricter Penalties for Illicit Gaming Practices

December 12, 2023 | illegal gambling

Macau SAR

MACAU, SAR (December 12, 2023) — The draft of the ‘Law on Combating Illegal Gambling Crimes’, which is set to replace the current Illegal Gambling Law (Law 8/96/m), will reach the Legislative Assembly for review, Director of the Legal Affairs Bureau Leong Weng In announced on Monday.

The Macau News Agency (MNA) reports that during an Executive Council press conference on Monday, Leong said that the bill proposes penalties for offences associated with illegal gambling, which are currently capped at a maximum of three years, to be revised to range between one and eight years.

Furthermore, the maximum duration of pretrial detention will be extended to a period ranging from two months to one year.

The bill also seeks to include under-the-table betting within the scope of illegal gambling operations “in order to prevent unnecessary disputes in legal practices”.

Under-the-table betting, also known as side betting or a multiplier, usually refers to a bet formally denominated at a casino gambling table that represents only a fraction of the amount wagered in a private bet between gamblers and junket operators to evade gaming revenue levies.

Secretary for Administration and Justice André Cheong Weng Chon clarified that due to varying legal interpretations concerning under-the-table betting across different judicial practices, the proposed legislation intends to tackle the subject by placing the activity in the scope of illegal operation of games of chance.

The bill prohibits the operation, promotion, and organisation of online gambling and mutual betting, regardless of whether the systems and devices involved are located in Macau.

Additionally, the new legislation is designed to enable searches of residences between 9 pm and 7 am and prevent detainees from communicating with individuals other than their lawyer before the judicial interrogation.

“We believe that through the amendment, along with previous legal revisions related to the gaming industry, Macau’s gaming sector can witness sustained, lawful, healthy, and orderly growth,” Cheong said.

SOURCE: Macau News Agency.

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