Gaming Law Advisor Antonio Lobo Vilela Leaves His Post in Macau

Macau law specialist Antonio Lobo Vilela is leaving his current post as senior advisor to the city’s Secretary for Economy and Finance at the end of this year. He has been at this post since 2016 and he is currently the official who supervises the city’s gaming market.

Macau Gaming Law Expert António Lobo Vilela Is Leaving to Pursue New Opportunities

As a gaming law expert, Vilela was in charge of the process to liberalize the gaming market in Macau. He also oversaw the public tender to grant gaming concessions for 2001-2002 in Macau. Vilela published The Macau Gaming Law with his comments, which comprised of four volumes and described the legal work that was done for Macau’s gaming industry during the past two decades.

According to Macau News Agency and the Macau Daily Times, Vilela is leaving his post voluntarily. He also commented on his departure briefly, saying that he has received several “very interesting” opportunities and he’d like to pursue them.

By law, gambling operations in Macau are currently controlled by the Macau Government. Permission can be given to private operators only if they sign a concession contract with the Government. The contract then dictates the relations between the government and the private operators that have been granted a concession. This is a very important part of the Macau legal process for gaming.

Macau is already preparing for 2021. The city’s Chief Executive, Ho Iat Seng said during a Legislative Assembly in November, that there would be an improvement in the legal work for the casino industry, and that preparatory measures for the gaming concessions in 2022 have already been taken.

There are currently six active Macau gaming licenses that will expire in 2022 and a new process will be initiated closer to the licenses’ expiry date.

Shedding Dependency on Gambling Tax Revenue

Macau’s tax revenue marked a strong return in November, with tax revenue climbing up 203% month-over-month or MOP2.83 billion ($354.6 million), the Special Administrative Region (SAR) reported.

However, this is still 73.9% down year-over-year, according to official numbers published by Macau government officials, highlighting the special administrative region’s dependency on gambling tax dollar.

This has prompted Macau to seek and diversify its revenue sources, including tourism and sports as its flagship diversification plan in 2021. This doesn’t preclude the important role of the mass premium gaming segment will still play in the short-to-midterm recovery of the city’s economy.

Macau has also been looking to clamp down on illegal gambling operations in and outside the region that have been siphoning off cash from the industry. According to official information released in November, Macau has successfully blocked 97 illegal gambling sites so far this year, notwithstanding any additional operators blocked after November.

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