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Amendment’s to China’s criminal law unlikely to have meaningful impact on Macau: Dr Wilfred Wong

Sands China President Dr Wilfred Wong says proposed amendments to China’s criminal law aimed at obstructing Chinese residents from gambling in foreign countries would likely have minimal impact on the gaming industry in Macau.

The Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress last week reviewed a proposed amendment to China’s criminal law targeting overseas casinos looking to lure Chinese gamblers, while also adding new penalties for “opening a casino” within mainland China.

Dr Wong told media on Saturday that he believed those amendments would not have a significant negative impact on Macau.

“Macau has never promoted gambling in the mainland, we only promote hospitality and entertainment and do not focus on gamblers,” he said.

“Visitors are coming back to Macau gradually and the mass market would not face any great influence.

“The VIP market would be impacted to some extent, but the Chinese government had strengthened its controls on capital flows for the long term, so any amendments to the criminal law would not have renewed impact.”

With Sands China’s parent company, Las Vegas Sands, due to publish its 3Q20 financial results this week and COVID-19 restrictions still heavily impacting Macau’s gross gaming revenues, Dr Wong noted that Macau had greater concerns than China’s criminal law.

“The situation would not be worse off because everyone is suffering severely in their operations over the past few months anyway,” he said. “Visitation has slumped and GGR has plunged, so in fact I believe these will improve step by step from now.”

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