Govt has never approved online gaming: regulator

2017-09-27 08:06     Comment:0

Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) Director Paulo Martins Chan said yesterday that the government has never allowed any kind of online gaming activities in Macau, responding to Hong Kong media reports earlier in the day that a joint venture was planning to bring blockchain technology to Macau.
Chan made the remarks while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a press conference at his bureau. The press conference was about the start of a public consultation on a proposed ban on off-duty gaming staff entering local casinos.

According to Hong Kong media reports yesterday, the Macau Dragon Group and Thailand-based Wi Holding Company Limited have reached a deal for an initial coin offering (ICO) planned for Hong Kong next month with the aim of raising US$500 million (4 billion patacas) to bring blockchain technology to Macau.

According to Wikipedia, a blockchain is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography.

When asked by reporters after the press conference about the news reports, Chan said his bureau was aware of the news. He said the two companies mentioned in the reports are not gaming operators, junket operators or slot machine manufacturers in Macau. He said that in response to the reports his bureau confirmed that the two companies are not connected with any gaming activities in Macau.

Pointing out that according to yesterday’s news reports some people plan to use cryptocurrencies – namely bitcoins – for online gaming in Macau, Chan said the local government has never approved any kind of online gaming activities in Macau.

Pointing out that the reports claimed that the initial coin offering would allow members of the public to become shareholders of a Macau junket operator, Chan said that people have to pass a strict background check before they can become shareholders of a junket operator in Macau. He also said the local government has enhanced its supervision of local junket operators over the past two years.

According to the Wikipedia, initial coin offering is an unregulated means of crowdfunding via use of a cryptocurrency, which can be a source of capital for start-up companies.

Meanwhile, the bureau reportedly told some local media by phone last night that it has approved 20 gaming tables at the new Royal

Dragon Casino in Zape. According to local media reports earlier this month, the casino, located opposite the Central People’s Government Liaison Office, will open today.

Chan told reporters on the sidelines of the press conference yesterday morning that his bureau has received an application for a number of gaming tables to be run by Royal Dragon Casino under SJM’s gaming concession, adding that the gaming tables will be transferred from SJM’s existing gaming tables at other casinos, which means there will be no increase in the number of gaming tables in the city.

It is unclear whether the company identified by the Hong Kong media reports as Macau Dragon Group is linked to the Royal Dragon

According to previous local media reports, the existing Golden Dragon hotel-casino – also run under SJM’s gaming concession – and
the new Royal Dragon hotel-casino are owned by businessman and outgoing lawmaker Chan Meng Kam, who also owns the Taipa Square hotel-casino under Melco’s subconcession.

Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) Director Paulo Martins Chan speaks during yesterday’s press conference. Photo: Tony Wong

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