February 20, 2024 3 min read


Macau Proposes Illegal Gambling Law with Ancillary Penalties

A fresh legislation proposal that would help combat illegal gambling features several ancillary penalties including expulsion and prohibition from entering the city

The Macau government’s new legislation proposal aimed at clamping down on crimes related to illegal gambling has been sent to the SAR Legislative Assembly

The latter is now busy studying its content, including a variety of ancillary penalties like player expulsion and the prohibition from entering Macau or an increase in the maximum penalty for this type of crime. 

The bill also throws the focus on online betting, expressly prohibiting the promotion, exploitation, and organization of betting, games of chance, and mutual betting online, no matter where the computer equipment, devices, and systems would be located. 

Five to 10 Years Expulsion or Prohibition 

The bill proposes that individuals convicted of an illegal gambling-related crime receive “isolated or cumulative” ancillary penalties. 

The list would include expulsion or prohibition from entering the special administrative region of greater China that operates under the “One Country, Two Systems” principle for five to 10 years. The measure would be applied to non-resident players.

Players found guilty of these crimes may also be prohibited from going to certain places or entering certain establishments, holding public office, or exercising specific professions.

All of these penalties would have an individual application period of two to 10 years and would include the publication of the decisions and judicial injunctions in Chinese-language newspapers and Portuguese-language newspapers of the region for 10 consecutive days, at the expense of the convicts.

One to Eight Years for Illicit Gambling Crimes

The Executive wants to see the maximum penalty for crimes related to illegal forms of gambling grow from the current three-year penalty to a new penalty of between one and eight years.

Lending money for illicit gambling will also be subject to stricter punishments. Also, the maximum duration of pre-trial detention is expected to expand.

The government’s bill proposes that “anyone who, to obtain financial gain for oneself or another person, provides money or other means for gambling to someone else” would be imprisoned between one to five years.

Individuals who try to ensure luck using deception, error, or by employing any means, as well as individuals who tamper with chips or counterfeit chips, will be sent to prison for one to five years or fined up to 600 days.

Punishments for Gambling in Public Spaces

The fresh legislation will also bring a series of changes regarding the way gambling in public spaces will be fined. 

Individuals found in spaces engaging in games that involve the movement of money or conventional corresponding values can expect future fines between MOP1,500 ($186) and MOP5,000 ($620), from MOP300 ($37) to MOP1,000 ($124) at the moment.

Playing mahjong without having the legal authorization for it will incur fines between MOP1,500 ($186) and MOP20,000 ($2,482), from MOP500 ($62) to MOP10,000 ($1,241).

Home searches will also be allowed between the hours of 9 pm to 7 am. 

After finishing her master's in publishing and writing, Melanie began her career as an online editor for a large gaming blog and has now transitioned over towards the iGaming industry. She helps to ensure that our news pieces are written to the highest standard possible under the guidance of senior management.

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