Macau Casino Regulator Expands Staff Ahead of 2022 Licensing Renewal

Posted on: September 8, 2021, 12:32h. 

Last updated on: September 8, 2021, 06:30h.

Macau casino operations are regulated by the Chinese enclave’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ). The agency is amid a major staffing expansion to better regulate and oversee the world’s richest gaming hub.

Macau casino DICJ China gambling
The newest team members of Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau pose for a photo after being confirmed to their senior level positions. The Chinese casino regulator is ramping its regulatory force, as gaming continues to expand in the region. (Image: DICJ)

Today, the DICJ confirmed the appointments of 14 new managerial-level employees. DICJ officials said the hires will serve in one of four capacities — DICJ inspectors, division chiefs, department chiefs, or bureau deputy directors. The DICJ swore in its 14 new team members in an event that was closed to the media because of ongoing pandemic concerns.

The DICJ has the monumental task of assuring Macau’s government that its massive gaming industry is playing by the enclave rules.

Macau’s six commercial casino operators compete in the largest casino market on the planet. They won $36.5 billion in 2019 prior to the pandemic — three times more than the entire state of Nevada reported in gross gaming revenue that same year.

Expanded Oversight

Two years after Macau was handed over to China by Portugal in 1999, the enclave decided to end the late Stanley Ho’s monopoly on casino gambling. The Chinese Special Administrative Region (SAR) — one of two in China, the other being Hong Kong — formed the DICJ in August of 2001.

A total of 21 entities bid on Macau gaming licenses. In February of 2002, Macau announced gaming concessions for Wynn Resorts, Galaxy Entertainment, and Ho’s SJM Resorts. Three additional operators, MGM Resorts, Melco Resorts, and Las Vegas Sands were later issued operating privileges.

The DICJ’s task of supervising casino operations has increased dramatically over the past two decades. The six casino firms have been permitted to expand from the downtown Macau peninsula to nearby Cotai, where today numerous multibillion-dollar integrated resorts sit. Macau has also allowed the six companies to operate smaller casinos for hotels throughout the region.

All six casino licenses are set to expire next June. Macau lawmakers are finalizing new governances for the fresh gaming permits.

Macau has set aside more funds for the DICJ to regulate the forthcoming regulatory conditions. In June, the SAR announced that it would provide finances for the DICJ to increase its number of inspectors from 192 to 459 positions.

Macau is also paying for the casino regulator to add to its management and executive-level workforce.

Gaming Outlook

The DICJ says it will assist Macau in bettering its gaming industry in the years ahead. A core component of the new operating environment following the issuance of new gaming licenses is to strengthen regulation.

As of the end of 2020, Macau had 41 casinos in operation. Twenty-five are located on the Macau peninsula, and 16 are in Taipa. That number has already increased to 42 with the July 2021 opening of SJM’s $5 billion Grand Lisboa Palace on the Cotai Strip.

Galaxy Entertainment confirmed recently that despite COVID-19, the company is moving ahead with the third and fourth stages of its Cotai expansion. The company is spending upwards of $6 billion on growth initiatives.