- The maximum jail sentence for gambling crimes will be increased to eight years
- The “multiplier” practice will be included as an illegal operation of games of fortune
- Macau To Experience A Casino Inspector Shortage in 2024
Macau will introduce tougher punishments for individuals committing gambling crimes as part of new amendments to the city’s illegal gambling regime.
Under the new proposals, the Macau government will increase the maximum jail sentences and the allowed duration of preventive detention for gambling crimes.
The “multiplier” practice will also be added to the list of illegal activities covered by the regime, originally known as Law No. 8/96/M.
Macau to Increase Prison Terms for Gambling Crimes
In a recent press briefing, Coco Leong Weng In, director of Macau’s Legal Affairs Bureau, revealed that those found to be involved in gambling crimes – including the illegal operation of games of fortune, the illegal operation of mutual betting, and the illegal operation of online gambling – will be facing prison terms of one to eight years, up from the current maximum sentence of three years. Additionally, the preventive detention will be extended by two months to one year.
The government also wants the “multiplier” practice, which has become rampant at casinos across the city, to be “explicitly” considered a form of illegal operation of games of fortune. In this illicit practice, both the dealers and the players in VIP gaming rooms collude to magnify the wagers on the table in order to avoid paying huge taxes.
While such activities are already considered a crime in the existing Law No. 8/96/M, there have been different interpretations on the subject, according to André Cheong Weng Chon, spokesman of the Executive Council and the Secretary for Administration and Justice. The proposed amendments, which will see the multiplier practice officially included as an illegal operation of games of fortune, will clear things up, Mr. Cheong said.
The legal proposal also includes a much stricter handling of gambling crime suspects, with those placed under preventive detention not allowed to contact other individuals, except their lawyers, prior to a judicial interrogation. For severe cases, security officers, through the power of a search warrant, may conduct a search operation on the suspects’ houses from 9 pm to 7 am even without the suspects’ consent.
Casino Inspector Shortage to Continue in 2024
In other developments, the Macau government has admitted that the city’s casino regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ), will continue to experience a shortage of casino inspectors in 2024.
The agency will hire 60 new inspectors next year, bringing the total number to 139, but that will still not be enough to properly patrol all of Macau’s gaming venues, the government said in an opinion document.