Macau Announces New Director of Gaming Bureau, Will Guide Enclave Through 2022 Tender Process

Posted on: May 18, 2020, 11:23h. 

Last updated on: May 18, 2020, 12:33h.

The Macau government has named Adriano Marques Ho as the next director of the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ).

Macau casinos DICJ director Ho
Macau Economy and Finance Secretary Lei Wai Nong (pictured) has unmasked the next leader of the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. (Image: Inside Asian Gaming)

Ho will replace Paulo Martins Chan as the chief gaming regulator of the world’s richest gambling hub on June 10. The appointment was announced by Macau Economy and Finance Secretary Lei Wai Nong.

The authority of making decisions about the gaming law are in the hands of the chief executive and the five secretaries,” said Lei. “The DICJ’s job is mostly to execute our decisions and policies.”

Ho arrives at the DICJ from Security Secretary Wong Sio Chak’s office. Ho has been a key advisor to Chak, and previously headed Macau’s Police Criminal Investigation Department and gaming probes in the Economic Crimes Investigation Department.

Ho has a law degree and is fluent in Chinese and Portuguese, Macau’s two official languages.

Planned Leadership Overhaul

The Macau government is undergoing change.

In December, Ho Iat Seng replaced Fernando Chui as chief executive, just the third person to hold the position since Macau was returned from Portugal to China in 1999. Seng took the oath during the 20th anniversary celebration on December 20, which was attended by People’s Republic President Xi Jinping.

Macau’s leadership change comes just two years before the enclave’s six licensed casino operators will see their concessions expire. The Chinese Special Administrative Region (SAR) is expected to issue new permits to the six companies, but under new regulations.

Lei says appointing a new DICJ director has been in the works for some time. He says Chan requested to be relieved of his duties last year, but was asked to stay on board until an appropriate successor was identified. Chan plans to return to the Public Prosecutions Office.

“Regulating the gaming industry is a persistent work for the government – it is not future tense,” Lei added. “No matter who is the DICJ director, we’ll continue with our regulation as usual to ensure healthy development of the gaming industry.”

Reforms Coming

Macau is refining how its gaming industry will be regulated in the second half of 2022 and beyond. The six licenses are slated to expire in June 2022.

Some analysts believe Ho’s appointment to head the DICJ might hint that the agency will take on more of a security role in the years ahead.

We may speculate that the Macau government may be considering to change the entire gaming industry regulatory and inspection affairs from the supervision of the economy and finance into security,” said Pedro Cortes, an attorney in Macau.

Cortes’ comments were made at the International Association of Gaming Advisors, and reported by GGRAsia.

Currently, security affairs within the Macau gaming industry are the responsibility of the Judiciary Police and Public Security Police. That’s different than in other major gaming markets, two examples being Nevada and Singapore.

The Nevada Gaming Commission has enforcement and investigations divisions. Singapore’s Casino Regulatory Authority also has an Investigations Division, as well as an Inspection & Compliance Division and Legal Division.