Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Casino Exclusion Requests on the Rise in Macau, Regulator Reveals

Casino News Daily
Casino Exclusion Requests on the Rise in Macau, Regulator Reveals

A total of 233 requests for casino floor exclusion were submitted to the Macau Gaming Inspection and Co-ordination Bureau during the first half of the year, the regulator said Monday. The applications filed were 54 more than those in the six months ended June 30, 2017.

Of all requests, 200 were self-exclusion ones, while the remaining 33 were filed by third parties. As many as 376 casino exclusion applications were submitted throughout 2017, according to official data from the local gaming regulator.

Under a 2012 law, casino patrons or concerned relatives of casino patrons could request to be barred from all of the city’s casinos or from particular venues for up to two years. Customers who enter gaming floors, despite being banned from these, are facing fines of between MOP1,000 and MOP10,000. Casino operators are also required to monitor for any violators and their failure to spot excluded players from their gaming floors could cost them between MOP10,000 and MOP500,000.

Macau is the only Chinese territory where casino gambling is legal. According to a recent study by the Macau University, around 2.5% of the city’s population are classified as probable problem gamblers and around 0.5% are classified as severe problem gamblers.

It is believed that casino staff members, particularly croupiers and dealers, represent the group of Macau’s population that is most likely to fall victim of problem gambling behavior and gambling addiction.

Casino Staff Ban

Last week, Macau’s Legislative Assembly unanimously voted in favor of a proposed ban on casino staff entering gaming floors outside work hours. The legislative piece thus passed a first reading and will now be reviewed by a committee before being referred to the city government for a second and final reading.

Despite the overwhelming support at last week’s vote, there were legislators who questioned the effectiveness of the ban. According to Angela Leong On Kei, who is also Chairwoman of casino operator SJM Holdings, the proposed legislation would face a number of challenges as operators cannot know if a person entering their floor is actually employed at a casino owned by another operator.

Under Macau’s laws, casino patrons are not required to present their ID document upon entering one gaming floor or another. However, they might be asked to produce their ID while at the casino.

If implemented the proposed bill will not only affect staff directly involved in the gaming operations, including dealers and croupiers, but also cage workers, food and beverage outlet staff, and people who are involved in gaming floors’ surveillance operations. If approved, the legislative piece will be published in Macau’s Official Gazette. The ban is then expected to become effective one year after its publication.

News about the proposed ban emerge as Macau continues posting double-digit gaming revenue growth. The city’s six licensed casino operators generated the total amount of MOP150.217 billion (approximately $18.6 billion) during the first half of the year, up nearly 19% from the same period of 2017. The pace of growth is expected to slow down a bit in July as a result from the World Cup as gamblers were probably spending more on betting on the major football tournament.

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