The Macau government is retaining its chief gaming boss for at least another 24 months. Adriano Marques Ho became the director of Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau — stylized DICJ — on June 10 of 2020.
The one-year term is being extended by 24 months, the enclave’s Official Gazette reported today.
Ho succeeded Paulo Martins Chan, who served in the position for five years until opting to return working as a public prosecutor. Ho was an advisor to the Macau Secretary for Security before transitioning to the DICJ.
Ho holds a law degree from the University of Science and Technology of Macau. Before joining the security secretary’s office, he worked for the Macau Judiciary Police, leading the force’s gaming-related crimes division.
Ho’s extension is a strong commitment from Macau governmental leaders that he is best suited to lead the Chinese Special Administrative Region (SAR) through the enclave’s new casino tender process.
Come June 2022, Macau’s six licensed casino operators — Sands, MGM, Wynn, Melco, Galaxy, and SJM — will see their gaming privileges expire. While all are expected to receive fresh gaming tenders, the Legislative Assembly of Macau for the past several years has been reviewing all aspects of its gaming industry. The goal is to create a better regulatory environment.
Macau operates under China’s “one country, two systems” principle, where the People’s Republic affords the SAR a great deal of governing autonomy. China handles defense and foreign affairs for Macau. But aside from that, the enclave is largely free of mainland rule.
However, that isn’t to say Macau doesn’t do much to appease Beijing. Unlike Hong Kong, the other SAR in China, which last year rallied against an extradition bill, Macau has done much to stay in People’s Republic President Xi Jinping’s good graces.
Xi is on a crusade to stop mainlanders from taking their money overseas to gamble. China has cracked down on cross-border gambling. While that isn’t necessarily related to Macau, the SAR’s new gaming regulatory environment is expected to include stricter monitoring of operations, specifically VIP junket groups.
The pandemic has led to some believing Macau might simply extend the six casino licenses. The enclave’s gaming law allows for a one-time extension.
With Macau officials focused on the pandemic and economic recovery, odds are increasing that current gaming licenses are extended beyond 2022,” a note from Macquarie last December opined.
The Macquarie analysts believe the permits are likeliest to be extended three years until June of 2025.
President Joe Biden’s election is thought to have improved the odds of the three US-based casino operators doing business in Macau having their licenses renewed. The founders of Sands and Wynn — respectively the late Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn — have both long been supporters of former President Donald Trump.
Trump’s relationship with China greatly soured during the pandemic.