Macau Proposes Illegal Gambling Law Revision to Extend Prison Sentences and Pecuniary Fines

Macau SAR Legislative Assembly is considering a revision of the legislation related to illegal gambling activities in the city. The proposal reportedly includes a range of higher pecuniary penalties for offenders, as well as more stringent prison sentences, and measures like expulsion or ban from entering Macau.

Anticipating More Stringent Penalties:

As Asian Gaming Brief (AGB) reports, the draft legislation submitted by the Executive proposes a series of penalties and extends the maximum penalty for illegal gambling from three to eight years. The revision reportedly also addresses money-lending activities to anticipate more stringent penalties if they are carried out to fund illicit gambling. As reported, the draft aligns with the Government’s intention to extend pre-trial detentions and minimize the engagement and involvement in such activities.

According to AGB, the Gover ph646 nment would impose either isolated or cumulative penalties to those convicted of the crime. Therefore non-resident convicts may reportedly be additionally subject to “expulsion or prohibition from entering the RAEM for a period of 5 to 10 years”, as reported by AGB. In the scope of the revision, the offenders could reportedly also be banned from some establishments, or prohibited from professions and public practices for a period of up to 10 years.

Loan-Sharking Subject to Five-Year Imprisonment:

The proposal reportedly includes penalties such as verdict publication and judicial costs reimbursement, as well as up to 10-year prohibition from entering gambling facilities. As reported by AGB, these measures may be applied to illegal gambling operations, fraudulent gamblers, or those persuading others into illicit gambling activities. If the new legislation is passed, the measure would reportedly expand the current scope only including money-lending criminal offenses known as ‘’loan-sharking.’’

As for loan-sharking activities, the Government’s proposes that “anyone who, with the intention of obtaining financial gain for oneself or another person, provides money or other means for gambling to someone else” shall be sentenced to up to five-year imprisonment, according to AGB, against the current three-year penalty limit prescribed by the Macau Penal Code.

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Five-Time Higher Pecuniary Fines Proposed:

The same source reports that perpetrators of crimes such as fraudulent gambling, counterfeiting, or chip tampering may face imprisonment for one to five years or a fine of up to 600 days. On the other hand, those engaging in gambling in public spaces would reportedly be subject to pecuniary fines ranging from $186 to $620 to represent around five times higher penalties than those currently applied, and alike. The Executive proposes some additional measures to improve criminal investigation methods.

As AGB reports, such methods would include night home busts, undercover agents, new protection regime for criminal information suppliers, as well as more strict pre-trial detaining practices for the offenders. The bill proposal further  ‘’expressly prohibit the exploitation, promotion, and organization of games of chance or betting and mutual betting online, regardless of whether the systems, devices, and computer equipment involved are installed in Macau or not,’’ according to AGB. The proposal reportedly also includes ‘’parallel betting’’ as an activity that may help clarify the structure of the crime. The draft seems to take all aspects of illegal gambling into account to reportedly avoid ‘’unnecessary discussions in terms of law enforcement.”