Macau Electronic Table Games Must Add Clock Warnings, Regulators Confirm

Posted on: November 1, 2021, 10:25h. 

Last updated on: November 1, 2021, 12:04h.

Macau casinos will soon have a new law. By the end of 2024, electronic table games (ETGs) screens, just like slot machines, must have clocks that warn players about time spent playing on the devices.

Electronic Slot Machines
A line of electronic slot machines, seen above. Machines like these in Macau will soon feature a flashing clock in the lower right corner to remind players how long they’ve been playing. (Credit: Getty Images)

All electronic gaming devices in Macau’s casinos will be outfitted with clocks to give players almost-constant reminders of how long they have been playing. The rule applies to electronic table games and electronic gaming machines. This is an attempt to comply with the need for responsible gambling, according to the DICJ.

The clocks will have a 12-hour-clock format and will flash on at the beginning of a playing session. After that, they will flash the time every 10 minutes during the same playing session.

Watching the Clock in Macau

Macau has included this rule as part of its most recent update to the city’s gambling regulations. Lawmakers and industry leaders are now reviewing all of the rule changes, which are likely to be in place before the end of the year.

The new clock feature on the screens of the ETGs is the latest move by the authorities to curb problem gambling at Macau’s casinos. So far, it was thought that the clock feature was only going to be found on electronic gaming machines (EGM), or digital slots.

In November, there will be a transition period in which manufacturers of EGMs will have to retrofit existing equipment with the new feature’s software. Regulators will ensure that all new machines provided for the Macau gambling market, must feature this new requirement as standard in the machines, ETGs, or slots.

In June of this year, the casino market in Macau had 9,871 slot machines in operation, and that figure includes electronic table game terminals.

Attempts to Curb Problem Gambling

Games in Macau will also not be permitted to have any hidden touchpoints or buttons affecting the game playing. This means that the clock cannot be stopped or modified in any way by the player or the casino.

This 2.0 document is the city’s Electronic Gaming Machine Technical Standards, and it went into force as of September 1 of this year. ETGs, as opposed to EGMs, were previously exempt from this new feature, but are now subject to the same rule.

With the new regulations in place since Sept. 1, the DICJ hopes to reduce the potential for problem gambling. But it’s also likely that there is an underlying reason for their inclusion now.

While the global gaming industry is taking a stricter approach to gambling and gambling addiction, Macau’s decision might be the result of influence – direct or indirect – from mainland China. It is potentially a way for Macau to ensure greater autonomy and self-governance as China takes a closer look at the SAR’s activities.