Gaming operators told to remain impartial ahead of Macau elections

By Noah Taylor Updated
Macau casino licence renewal process made clearer

Ahead of the upcoming Macau Legislative Assembly Elections, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau has held meetings with representatives to emphasise that all gaming operators must remain neutral and impartial in the upcoming election.

Inside Asian Gaming reports that all six gaming concessionaires, sub concessionaires and local associations for gaming promoters participated in the meeting.

The Chairman of the Electoral Affairs Commission, Tong Hio Fong, explained that all employees working in the industry must remain neutral while on duty, cannot display any campaigning material on company premises nor conduct any campaigning activities during working hours.

“Gaming operators have an obligation to remind their employees of these regulations, in order for them not to breach their duty to be neutral and impartial,” Tong said.

“If any employees violate the rules, it would be their own responsibility. In cases of potential offenses, the employing companies concerned should report it immediately to the Electoral Affairs Commission or the DICJ to ask for follow-up actions.”

Macau will hold the legislative assembly election on September 12, with 26 of the 33 seats to be elected directly or indirectly by the public.

The nomination period for direct and indirect seats runs from March 11 to June 15 and candidates can collect nominations from qualified voters.

However, in accordance with current legislation regulations in Macau, candidates are not allowed to launch public propaganda activities during this period.

According to a statement from the SAR government, gaming operators at Wednesday’s meeting promised to fully cooperate with their obligations.

Macau scraps casino coronavirus test certificates

A coronavirus test certificate is no longer required to enter Macau casinos, GGR Asia reports.

From midnight, March 3, people wishing to enter Macau casino floors will no longer need to show a test certificate proving they are free of COVID-19 infection.

The rule where all individuals from mainland China arriving in Macau must have a negative nucleic acid test report issued within seven days of arrival, stays in place, authorities said.

A number of investment analysts had suggested that the COVID-19 test requirement for entry to Macau itself and the duration of the test certificate validity was an inhibiting factor for would-be tourists to Macau from mainland China.

The mainland is currently the only place to have a largely quarantine-free travel bubble with Macau.

DS Kim, an analyst at the JP Morgan banking group said in a note that dropping the need for the test certificate might be a “tiny step toward further easing” of restrictions on the market.

But he observed: “Since those entering Macau from China would already have negative test results anyway, the rule change is unlikely to affect inbound demand.”

But the change would probably “help revise demand” from “local” players, who had been “nearly absent since mid-July,” he added.

Brokerage Sanford C Bernstein said in a Wednesday memo that “Macau locals play is likely two to three per cent of gross gaming revenue in the market”.

Analysts Vitaly Umansky, Tianjiao Yu and Louis Li described dropping the COVID-19 test requirements for casino entry as a “positive step forward on the path to normalcy, but we do not see any border changes forthcoming in the immediate near-term.”

The local authorities had introduced the COVID-19 test certificate rule for casino entry with effect from July 15.

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