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Macau legislators vote in favor of first reading of draft gambling law

February 29, 2024 Macau Crime & Legal

In an effort to lessen the gaming industry’s susceptibility to criminal influence, the city’s officials introduced a draft “Law to Combat Gambling Crimes,” which the Legislative Assembly of Macau passed on Wednesday in its first reading. Twenty-nine MPs endorsed the government’s plan.

The present Illegal Gambling Regime in Macau, Law No. 8/96/M, is outdated and needs to be updated. A number of gaming lawyers have expressed the need for more information in order to fully understand the overall goal and possible effectiveness of the proposed measure.

The government’s proposal calls for a significant increase in the maximum jail sentences as well as the duration of “preventive detention” that may be imposed for infractions involving gambling, including “multiplier” under-the-table betting.

It is also the goal of the legislation to outlaw the “operation, promotion, and organization” of “online games of fortune and mutual betting,” irrespective of the fact that the computer networks that make this possible have their main office in Macau.

Ten legislators supported the measure and raised issues before it was passed. Some questioned whether the necessity for undercover investigations by local authorities and the prolonging of pre-trial imprisonment for gambling crimes were warranted.

In response, André Cheong Weng Chon, Macau’s Secretary for Administration and Justice, said that law enforcement agencies supported the idea of using “enhanced investigation” techniques to target violations related to gambling.

After the legislation is approved on first reading, it will be thoroughly investigated by one of the three working committees in the assembly. The committee has the authority to make changes, and after the publication of a report, the legislation will be brought back to the whole assembly for a final reading.

Original story by: GGRAsia

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