MACAU LAW ON INTERNET GAMBLING &#039;CONFUSING&#039;
03rd March, 2011 at 04:13:44
Conference discusses legality of online gambling on offshore gambling island
The iGaming Asia conference, currently running on the Chinese offshore island of Macau, considered the legality of online gambling, reports the Macau Daily Times, which came to the conclusion that the autonomous region has no specific law for online gaming.
Such a deficiency may make it easier for an illegal industry to thrive, executives at the conference opined.
"Although there is legal online gaming in MSAR, there is no special law on this issue," Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) legal advisor Duarte Chagas explained.
He admitted that this situation could cause "confusion", because on the one hand, online gaming is considered fraud and casino operators are not authorised to launch online games, while on the other, it is possible to use the Internet to bet on local greyhound and horse races, as well as to bet on overseas football and basketball games.
The newspaper recalls that over a year ago a DICJ official revealed that the Macau government was "...studying the feasibility of drafting a law for regulating online gambling", although "no specific timetable for the enactment of the online gambling law is set as it is still in the preliminary drafting stage."
Cagayan Economic Zone Authority administrator Jose Mari Ponce from the Philippines told the newspaper that regulation was essential for the protection of both investors and players. He said that the lack of such regulation in the Asian region was preventing the industry from accessing the considerable potential of Asia.
"The current outlook is that online [gambling] is a competitor of land-based gaming. I don't agree. I believe it's a way to open up a wider market," Ponce said, noting that for his organisation regulation had been a success. Around 40 companies were licensed, and the yearly wins involved substantial amounts of money on which a five% income tax is levied, and one% of all wins is paid to local authorities for developmental projects.
The director for Asia of online gaming company Betsson, Magnus Grinneback, agreed. "You should regulate it. There is no point in trying to stop it," he said, pointing out that even the European Union is preparing a pan-European regulatory framework.
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