Gaming | Operators Allegedly Suspend Customer Services in Mainland in Wake of Amended Law

Some gaming operators in the city have allegedly dissolved or suspended their customer service teams in mainland China in order to avoid pitfalls from the recently amended Criminal Law in mainland China, which came into effect on March 1.

As cited in a report issued by Hong Kong media outlet Allin Media, some gaming operators suspended their customer service operations in mainland China, whose work was to liaise with high-end patrons and arrange for them to gamble in Macau.

A gaming operator was said to have had its marketing department renamed, and provided new calling cards to their staff that did not contain any wording related to casinos or gaming, the report noted.

In December, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress legislature sanctioned an amendment to the national criminal law criminalizing anyone who “organizes [for] citizens of mainland China to participate in gambling outside the country (or border), which involves a hefty sum or cases with serious consequences.” The amended law came into force on March 1.

The document does not specify the definition of a “hefty sum” or “cases with serious consequences.”

The new law foreshadows that anyone who “organizes” gambling trips or activities for mainland citizens to Macau will be considered to have broken the law. A person who commits such a gambling offence will be subject to imprisonment of at least five years and up to 10 years.

Steve Vickers, CEO of Steve Vickers and Associates, previously told the Times that the new law will require more time to elapse for authorities to see whether illegal activities will be further reduced, explaining that the goal is not to damage the legitimate casino business and the significant tax revenue that well-run casinos provide to government, but to eliminate illegal activities.

However, the law could cripple the city’s VIP sector, as gaming experts believe the amendment arguably acts as a deterrent to not only high rollers, but also regular gambling travelers to Macau from China, who are under a degree of surveillance from the Chinese government.

Considering the VIP sector has often accounted for the biggest share of the total gross gaming revenue, experts expect that the new law could have a detrimental impact on Macau’s overall economy.