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Macau Unveils Stringent Measures to Combat Illegal Gambling Activities

The Macau government recently unveiled plans to introduce new legislation aimed at combating illegal gambling activities, reflecting a proactive stance towards strengthening regulatory enforcement and preserving the integrity of the region's gaming sector. Although initially proposed in December, the legislation's public announcement by Macau's Legislative Assembly underscores the government's resolve to address regulatory challenges and enhance measures against illicit gambling practices.

Macau Unveils Stringent Measures to Combat Illegal Gambling Activities

The proposed statute, titled the "Law to Combat Illegal Gambling Crimes," signifies a comprehensive effort to modernize Macau's regulatory framework, particularly focusing on Law No.8/96/M, which governs illegal gambling activities. According to Coco Leong Weng, director of the Macau Legal Affairs Bureau, offenders implicated in facilitating or accepting illegal loans for gambling within Macau's casinos could face imprisonment terms ranging from one to eight years, depending on the gravity of their involvement.

"In this legal proposal, our suggestion is that we are increasing the imprisonment terms — including for the illegal operation of games of fortune and illegal operation of mutual betting — from the existing maximum of three years to one year to eight years," emphasized Coco Leong Weng.


Furthermore, the legislation addresses the growing prevalence of online gambling by imposing strict penalties on individuals engaged in unlawful betting activities over the internet while within Macau's jurisdiction. Offenders could potentially face imprisonment for up to six months, accompanied by significant fines, indicating the government's determination to curb illicit online gambling practices effectively.

In addition to targeting conventional forms of gambling, the proposed law extends its reach to encompass penalties for Macau residents participating in informal gambling activities, such as mahjong games involving betting. Penalties for such infractions could range from $37 to $620, aiming to deter individuals from engaging in casual gambling practices that could contribute to illicit activities.

Moreover, the legislation grants expanded powers to law enforcement authorities, enabling them to conduct searches in businesses or residences suspected of facilitating illegal gambling operations during designated nighttime hours. This proactive enforcement approach aims to disrupt illicit gambling activities and deter offenders from engaging in unlawful behavior.

"Illegal exploitation of games of chance or betting and mutual betting crimes are typically committed during the nighttime," the bill states.

Additionally, the legislation incorporates measures to incentivize cooperation with law enforcement efforts by providing immunity for individuals who assist authorities in uncovering illegal gambling and gaming-related crimes. By encouraging active engagement from the community, the legislation seeks to enhance collaborative efforts in combating illicit activities and promoting regulatory compliance.

Overall, the introduction of the "Law to Combat Illegal Gambling Crimes" reflects the Macau government's commitment to preserving the integrity of its gaming industry and addressing potential national security risks associated with illicit gambling activities. As the legislative process unfolds, stakeholders will closely monitor developments and assess the impact of the proposed measures on Macau's gambling landscape.


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