Legal Online Gambling May Come to Macau
In good news for Asian gamblers, the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) has said that it is looking into the option of legalizing online gambling. However, it tempered hopes by highlighting concerns that it could provide a new route for money launderers.
Legislator Jose Pereira Coutinho made an inquiry to the DICJ about the possibility of using online gambling to increase tax revenues until coronavirus travel restrictions are lifted. As part of his written response, Adriano Ho, the DICJ director, confirmed that the organization is currently studying the possibility.
In the response, Ho said that there was great potential for increasing tax revenues through online gambling, but said that there are serious concerns that it could be used for money laundering and result in an increase in problem gambling. As a result, he said that it is important for “careful studies” to be carried out and said that these are still taking place.
However, he also said that the DICJ was happy to hear proposals from society and legislators about how to best develop the online gambling sector. He also mentioned that he was optimistic that there would be a reduction in complaints about illegal gambling websites and smartphone apps since the DICJ increased its prevention and awareness measures.
In Macau, local gaming revenues fell by 81.4% between January and October due to the pandemic, which led to a 74% drop in gaming taxes collected by authorities during the same period. This is a situation replicated across the world, and as a result, Macau is just one of many jurisdictions considering online gambling as a way to make up for revenue loss caused by the pandemic.