Macau - New Regulations on Overseas Gaming Activities
Update provided by: Rui Pinto Proença, Partner, and José Leitão, Partner, MdME Lawyers

In the context of the Macau Government’s policy intentions of (i) enhancing AML controls and (ii) controlling gaming-related entities’ ability to interact with the gaming sector of other jurisdictions, two key local regulators have recently moved to enact the following rules:

    DICJ has issued (non-public) rules, which, to the best of our knowledge, prohibit, inter alia, settlement transactions which are not related to Macau (i.e., settlement of gaming obligations incurred or created outside of Macau) or usage of Macau as a settlement platform for foreign transactions, such as deposits and withdrawals of cash and/or gaming chips.The material effect of these rules is that local gaming promoters would no longer be allowed to process front-money arrangements for their patrons to be able to play outside of Macau and would be substantively prevented from settling any obligations that said patrons incur outside of Macau. This prohibition may have sizeable impact on the continued feasibility of existing marketing arrangements between Macau junkets and overseas gaming operators.

    In addition and as a supplement to these rules, the AMCM has recently published “Industry Guidance on AML/CFT Controls – “Gaming-related” Customers” (effective from August 23rd, 2019), which essentially prohibits local financial institutions from establishing business relationships with (i) overseas gaming operators, as well as (ii) related-companies thereto and (iii) gaming promoters of overseas gaming operators, with the purpose of organizing movement of funds for gaming activities outside Macau.
These guidelines further require that any existing business relationships be brought into compliance shortly (meaning that any accounts currently used by these entities to move funds to outside of Macau should be closed or restricted in use).

These rules also impact overseas’ gaming operators’ activities in Macau, insofar as they will no longer be able to use its bank accounts in Macau to render marketing arrangements with local junkets or patrons operational.