Illegal Casino Loans Could Land You in Jail in Macau

The Macau government has put forward a draft bill aimed at stepping up efforts to clamp down on illegal gambling activities within casino walls. This new legislative proposal, titled “Law to Combat Gambling Crimes,” was made available for public scrutiny by the Legislative Assembly, following its initial mention in December. The proposal seeks to revise and toughen the penalties outlined in Macau’s current legislation on illegal gambling activities, specifically Law No.8/96/M. With the proposed changes, the Macau government demonstrates a firm commitment to curbing illegal gambling practices and ensuring the city remains a safe and regulated environment for casino patrons.

At the heart of the proposed legislation is the introduction of jail sentences ranging from one to five years for individuals found guilty of facilitating illegal loans for gambling. This applies to anyone providing financial assistance or other means for gambling, intending to profit either for themselves or another individual. Additionally, the draft bill proposes even stricter penalties for those found demanding personal identification as collateral from borrowers, with potential imprisonment ranging from two to eight years.

Beyond targeting illegal loans, the draft bill encompasses a wide array of gambling-related offenses. Individuals convicted of illegal gaming operations, coercing others into gambling, or participating in fraudulent gambling schemes will not only face imprisonment and fines but may also be banned from entering any gambling establishment in Macau for a period ranging from two to ten years. Moreover, those not residing in Macau could be expelled or prohibited from entering the territory for five to ten years if convicted under this new law.

One of the more notable aspects of the proposal is its approach to categorizing certain gambling offenses as activities associated with a “secret association or society.” This terminology typically refers to involvement with organized crime groups, such as triads, and suggests a more severe punishment for those convicted.

The bill also aims to extend the maximum duration of jail sentences and preventive detention for those involved in gambling crimes, including actions like under-the-table betting, referred to as the “multiplier.” This move was highlighted in a briefing by government officials when the bill was first introduced.

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