Macau lawmakers concerned about new ‘Illegal Gambling Law’

  • 2 min read
Macau lawmakers concerned about new ‘Illegal Gambling Law’

A recent proposal in Macau’s Legislative Assembly to prohibit “illegal gambling” has sparked concerns among residents that activities like playing mahjong or poker at home could now be deemed unlawful.

The vague language of the bill has raised questions about its potential impact on everyday citizens.

Chan Chak Mo, Chairman of the Legislative Assembly Second Standing Committee, pointed out the lack of clarity in defining illegal gambling within existing laws. He questioned whether harmless activities such as friendly betting or casual games of poker or mahjong in public spaces would fall under the purview of this new law.

The proposed legislation imposes harsh penalties, including up to eight years of imprisonment, for individuals engaged in gambling outside the authorized gaming establishments on the island.

Additionally, the bill makes reference to “mutual betting,” which traditionally includes wagering on horse and dog racing. However, with the closure of the Macau Jockey Club in March, after years of financial struggles and declining attendance, the future of such activities remains uncertain. Chan speculates that the inclusion of this term might pave the way for simulcast horse betting in the future.

Addressing concerns, Chan has requested clarification from the government regarding their awareness of the Jockey Club’s closure and its implications on the proposed law.

The bill was scheduled for further discussion on Tuesday, with a final vote expected on Thursday.