Macau presents new illegal gambling legislation with tougher penalties

Macau presents new illegal gambling legislation with tougher penalties

Authorities in Macau propose heavier penalties for illegal gambling.

Macau.- The draft Law on Combating Illegal Gambling Crimes has been submitted to the Macau SAR Legislative Assembly. The proposal aims to strengthen penalties and enforcement measures against illicit gambling,

The legislation would increase the maximum penalty for offences related to illegal gambling from three years to between one to eight years. There would be tougher penalties for lending money for illegal gambling, with prison of up to five years.

Key provisions also include extending the duration of pre-trial detention and introducing ancillary penalties such as expulsion or prohibition from entering the city for a period of five to 10 years for non-residents convicted of specified offences. Those convicted could also be prohibited from entering certain establishments or places, such as gambling venue, exercising certain professions or activities, or holding public office for a period of two to ten years.

Those convicted in Macau could be subject to a judicial injunction and required to publish the convicting decision in a Chinese-language newspaper and a Portuguese-language newspaper of the SAR for a period of 10 consecutive days.

Anyone who ensures luck through error, deception, or other means related to fraudulent gambling could be punished with imprisonment for one to five years or a fine of up to 600 days. The same applies in the case of counterfeiting or tampering with chips.

Fines for gambling in public spaces would also increase to between MOP1,500 (US$186) and MOP5,000 (US$620). Those found playing mahjong illegally would be fined between MOP1,500 (US$186) and MOP20,000 (US$2,482).

The bill also introduces provisions enabling searches of residences from 9pm to 7am and restricting detainee communication before judicial interrogation. The bill also establishes a new protection regime for people who provide information or collaborate with the police.

It also proposes a ban on the operation, promotion, and organisation of online gambling and mutual betting irrespective of the physical location of associated systems and devices. The act of ‘parallel betting’ is also explicitly included.

See also: Macau reports 2,717 gaming-related crimes in 2023

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