Say that Macau going through a transition phase would be an understatement. Historically backed by casinos, the city began exploring new efforts to attract other tourism markets prior to the advent of COVID-19, which essentially decimated Macau's gaming scene. The effects of the global pandemic will undoubtedly bring more changes to the city at a crucial moment, while ushering in a new era of gaming regulations and, perhaps, gaming operators. To facilitate the transition, Macao Game Control and Coordination Office (DICJ) decided that the wisest option would be to allow the current director, Adriano Marques, to maintain his position for another two years.
An important time in Macau history
A lot is happening in Macau right now and the city needs as much cohesion as possible. Marques took over as head of the DICJ in June last year, and the city government announced yesterday that it had extended his contract for a further two years with effect from June 10. Former adviser to the secretary of security in Macau, Marques replaced Paulo Martins Khan when he decided to return to his previous career as a prosecutor.
Marques brought a different mindset to DICJ, founded he graduated in law and worked in the Judicial Police of Macau . He spent three years leading the organisation's gaming and economic crime division, after spending about seven years as head of the Macao Sub-Office at China's National Interpol Central Bureau. This experience has given him significant insight into all aspects of the good and bad of the Macao gaming scene and will be very important in the coming transition.
Macau is to introduce changes to the gaming regime
There are still no clear clues as to what the Macao gaming industry has to offer, but everyone knows change is coming. The city is currently reviewing its gaming regulations and is expected to introduce the new regulations within four to five months. It is believed that China could play a greater role in regulating, perhaps even requiring Macao's casinos to operate with the country's new digital currency, the e-yuan. While Macao officials have previously denied any link to e-yuan, it has been confirmed that the city, at least superficially, was discussing digital currency.
Mark and his background will play a key role in making these regulations, but he will also have another, bigger challenge on his hands. Macau has now six licensed casino operators and all concessions will expire next year. It is still unclear what will happen next, but it is said that more concessions could be made. As the license is technically not renewable, there is also the possibility that Macao may put severe pressure on existing licensees to force them to change business structures or risk losing their place.
The concessions will expire next June, and some casino executives have complained that the time between the new regulatory framework's implementation and its expiry is too short. They tried to press for a new license extension; however, the DICJ was largely silent on the subject, as in all aspects of the upcoming transition.