Premium Portuguese legacy is the main factor that makes Macau the game capital

Experts believe that the Portuguese legacy was instrumental in Macau becoming the gaming capital of the world when dealers record revenue records for the last four years and a year of finishing their first licenses.

"Portugal has strongly influenced the socio-cultural, economic and legal system of the city," Hongwai Ho, a professor at the Macau Polytechnic Institute's Educational and Scientific Center in the Game Area, told Lusa.

As examples of Portuguese influence in the twentieth century, Hongwai Ho highlighted the introduction of "the concept of administrative concession law that serves as the legal framework governing the gaming industry of Macau since 1961", but also the creation of direct taxes on gross revenues of casinos in 1976.

Already the founder of Macau gaming regulator Newpage Consulting, David Green, said that the system of concessions, despite some shortcomings such as "being able to be terminated, with or without compensation... did not diminish the operators' investment in Macau. "

Although after the passage of the Macauadministration in 1999, have been made some changes to the Portuguese initial model - which granted monopoly to an operator instead of the now existing system of three concessionaires and three subconcessionárias - the system is still largely based in Portuguese law.

The Portuguese legacy in the history of the game in Macau is not confined to the 20th century and dates back to the 16th century, when the territory opened its port to the world in 1557 and established itself as an important commercial port linking the East to the West.

"This fishing village under Portuguese administration has attracted a large number of traders, visitors and individuals from all walks of life, some of whom were thirsty for gambling," said the professor at the Polytechnic Institute.

At the time the game was illegal and was made at clandestine bookmakers.

With the conquest of Hong Kong by the British empire in 1842, "with the advancement of technology in shipbuilding and the deep water port, Hong Kong was able to accommodate large vessels and Macau began to gradually lose strength as a commercial port in region ", you can read on the page of the Directorate and Inspection and Coordination of Games (DICJ) of Macau.

Until 1847, where the governor of Macau, João Maria Ferreira do Amaral, who today gives the name to the square in front of the most emblematic casinos of Macau (Casino Lisbon and Grand Lisboa), aware of the loss of regional influence, and in order to secure greater fittings for the safes of the Portuguese empire, issued licenses to operate 'fantan', 'a Chinese game in which a random number of counters is placed under a cup and players bet how many will remain after they have been divided by four, ' said Hongwai Ho, pointing out that, a few years later, there were more than 200 gambling dens in operation.

By the end of the same century, according to the DICJ, taxes on the game were already the main source of the revenues for the territory, and from there Macau began to be known as the "Monte Carlo of the East".

"The legalization of the game in Macau was definitely a decisive step for this city to remain competitive at the time and laid the foundations of today's casinos in Macau", said the professor.

At present, the game in Macau is experiencing some uncertainties, such as the impact that the trade war between the United States and China may have on the territory, the entry of other Asian players on the stage of the game and the end of the term of a sub-game of the Macau Gaming Society (SJM), founded by the game mogul Stanley Ho.

Between March and June 2002 contracts were concluded between the Government of Macau, the Macau Gaming Company (SJM) Galaxy Casino and Wynn Resorts Macau for the award of three concessions.

In December of that year an amendment was made to the Galaxy Casino concession contract in which Venetian Macau was allowed to explore games of fortune or chance in the territory, through sub-concessions. SJM and Wynn also entered into sub-concession agreements with MGM and Melco Resorts.

"The Government has had 20 years to observe, analyze, study and develop a legislative and regulatory framework within which the industry could develop," criticized the founder of the Newpage Consulting.

"The fact that we are talking about uncertainty 12 months before the expiration of the SJM concession [and the MGM sub-concession], this indicates to us that the process, which should have been completed, is not," he said.

The founder of Newpage Consulting said he hoped the whole process would be "clear, with transparent political foundations, allowing investors and operators to chart the way forward."

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