Macau’s Wong Sio Chak Trusts the Gambling Reforms

Wong Sio Chak, Macau’s secretary for security believes the ongoing gambling law reforms will not pressure employment in the sector.

COVID-19 Brought Down both Crime and Profits

The secretary addressed the market’s state in the “Assessment Report on the Impact of the Current Situation of the Gaming Industry in Macau on the Public Security Situation in Macau.”The report covers the first three months of the year and reveals how the local sector dealt with crime.

As it turns out, crime rates were significantly lower year-on-year. According to the report, only 52 gaming-related crimes were recorded in the first quarter of the year. Crimes range from minor thefts and fraud to kidnappings and robbery. For comparison, there were 89 crimes in Q1 of 2021, followed by 113, 77 and 63 in Q2, Q3 and Q4 respectively.

Moreover, there is no data that unemployment in the sector is leading to crime, Sio Chak added. Macau’s recent crackdown on junkets left hundreds without a job but luckily, they don’t seem to be turning to crime.

Although the numbers look reassuring, Sio Chak attributed the drop to the overall decline in casino gaming. The Macau gaming industry continues to struggle with COVID-19 which constantly adds to the special administrative region’s woes. Right now, a huge wave of unemployment is threatening the local gambling industry. Sio Chak mentioned that this will likely affect the overall social security and social stability as well. He reminded people that gambling is one of the core pillars of Macau’s economy and anything that impacts it will echo across the whole region.

The Secretary Said the Reforms Will Improve the Sector

Sio Chak moved on to talk about the ongoing discussions about gambling law reforms. The region’s Legislative Assembly has been proposing numerous changes to how gambling is governed in the region. The secretary agrees with many of the proposed changes and said that many of them will likely benefit the sector.

He praised the measures that will improve the laws governing satellite casinos. Sio Chak also lauded the idea of easing taxes for concessionaries who manage to attract more visitors to the country. Overall, the secretary believes that all measures make sense and will benefit the gambling industry as a whole. He also noted that they will not bring direct pressure on employment in the sector.  

Another thing that might benefit the Macau gambling market, according to Bernstein, is the introduction of digital RMB. The finance experts said that a universal currency that Chinese players can use can revitalize the sector.

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