Needless to say, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has negatively affected every single industry globally and the Macau casino industry is not an exception. The coronavirus pandemic is an ongoing pandemic of COVID-19 which is caused by SARS-CoV-2 or severe acute respiratory syndrome. The coronavirus outbreak was first identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan back in December last year. The coronavirus pandemic was classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization back on the 11th of March.
As estimated on the 21st of April, there are more than 2.4 million cases of infections with COVID-19 in over one hundred and eighty-five countries. As estimated on the 21st of April, the coronavirus disease caused over 170,000 deaths globally while more than 651,000 individuals have recovered. As with other respiratory viruses, the virus strain which causes coronavirus disease spreads among individuals during close contact usually via small droplets produced when sneezing and couching. Individuals may also get infected by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching their mouth, nose, or eyes.
Macau’s Local Government to Research the Feasibility of Betting and Social Gaming Operations
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, all of Macau’s casino facilities shut down their operations temporarily in March and they have been closed for over a month now. As of recently, in Macau, a rather prominent local academic has suggested that the former Portuguese enclave could mitigate some of the devastating coronavirus pandemic consequences by legalizing some sorts of online betting and gambling activities.
According to one report released by Inside Asian Gaming, this prominent local academic who suggested Macau’s government to legalize iGaming activities is Zhonglu Zeng who is currently professors at the Polytechnic Institute’s Gaming Teaching and Research Centre in Macau. He revealed that it may be the right time for the government of Macau to start research regarding the feasibility of licensing small-scale betting and social gaming operations.
He told several local news outlets that legalizing some forms of online betting and gambling activities in Macau will allow this area to bring in much-desired tax revenues while at the same time the former Portuguese enclave will permit its local casino operators to diversify their gaming offering and businesses. The professor’s revelation came just in the time as Macau is preparing the fundamental work for its public tender which will determine who is allowed to operate casino facilities after 2022 when those current licenses expire.
Macau Exploring Online Gaming Opportunities
Zeng said to local news outlets that the biggest concern related to legalizing online gambling and betting activities in Macau is that such activities are forbidden in the rest of China including mainland China. However, in mainland China, all other gambling-related activities are banned while the former Portuguese enclave is special as it allows gambling. In his words, Macau is rather special as it has the necessary space and means to explore growing online gambling-related opportunities that other Chinese enclaves do not have.
He also added that thanks to network security technologies, residents of mainland China could be easily blocked from accessing online gaming sites operating in Macau, so no laws are broken. He also said that even though the re-tendering of gaming licenses scheduled will not explore the possibility of legalizing online gambling opportunities, he believes that the government in Macau should take the first steps towards exploring such opportunities by starting their research and discussion.