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Is it true that Indian government is planning to legalise online gambling?

Niji Narayan

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Is it true that Indian government is planning to legalise online gambling?
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Rumours are abuzz about Indian government’s plans to regulate online gambling in the country. Overall, gambling is prohibited in India, apart from a few jurisdictions. However, there have been recent staccato calls for legalisation of online gambling. In fact, there exists a few companies who make use of the grey area in the legality of online gambling in the country and offer their services in a surrogate manner.

The recent rumours find their origin in a 150-page long report addressed to the government from the Law Commission of India (LCI). In this report, the LCI recommends the legalisation of online gambling in a regulated manner because it observes that the government cannot practically prevent people from accessing online betting sites. The current law has no provision for this.

The LCI also points to the immense potential for tax revenue that the federal government could benefit from, should it choose to regulate online gambling. In recent statements, the Indian government have said that they are looking into the reports from the LCI with maximum interest.

Despite all this, the rumours are unlikely to be true in the immediate future. The current central government is nearing the end of its five-year term. The general elections will be held in May later this year. The government, which is facing a tough battle for a second term, may not risk doing anything unconventional or what can be dubbed as politically incorrect at this juncture.

Asia

Nagasaki Reconsolidates IR Bid Support from All Governors of Kyushu Island

Niji Narayan

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Nagasaki Reconsolidates IR Bid Support from All Governors of Kyushu Island
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Nagasaki has re-consolidated the IR bid support from all the regional governors of Kyushu Island.

The Kyushu Regional Strategy Conference, consisting of the seven governors of Kyushu region, as well as those of nearby Yamaguchi prefecture and Okinawa prefecture, plus the leaders of regional economic organisations, released an official message supporting Nagasaki’s IR bid.

Under the principle of “Kyushu is One,” potential IR operators were advised that they were expected to offer, and could be expected to receive, support for tourism development in the entire region.

While Nagasaki had gained early support from such regional associations, the regional unity behind its bid was briefly threatened by the prospect that either Fukuoka city or Kitakyushu city might join the IR race.

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Asia

Study Confirms High Rollers Gambled in Macau Despite COVID-19

Niji Narayan

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Study Confirms High Rollers Gambled in Macau Despite COVID-19
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A new study released by the Macau Research Centre has found that 60% of those who visited Macau during the COVID-19 pandemic did so for gambling, with each willing to spend around MOP$87,000 on average.

The research centre surveyed 103 visitors between March and May, of which 93.2% were from mainland China. With the threat of a 14-day quarantine upon leaving Macau, research showed those mainlanders chose to stay longer, with an average stay of 6.7 days. Around 59% stayed for more than five days.

The study also found that 59% of those surveyed visited Macau for gaming, while 87% had conducted gaming activities. Their gaming budget ranged from MOP$1,000 to MOP$500,000, with an average of MOP$87,000.

“Compared to the mass market, the spending decisions of this group of high-end customers may be less influenced by macroeconomic and social sentiment,” the study said.

Moreover, the visitors spent another MOP$45,549 during their visits on average, mostly on dining, shopping and hospitality.

The study also found the arrivals had visited Macau an average of 5.8 times in the last 12 months, while 83% of them had visited Macau at least three times in the last 12 months.

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Asia

Macau Gambling King Stanley Ho Dies at 98

Niji Narayan

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Macau Gambling King Stanley Ho Dies at 98
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Macau casino king Stanley Ho has died on Tuesday (May 26) at the age of 98. He was known as the godfather of Macau casinos and was instrumental in turning Macau into a gambling boomtown.

The flamboyant tycoon, who loved to dance but advised his nearest and dearest to shun gambling, headed one of the world’s most lucrative gaming businesses through his flagship firm, SJM Holdings Ltd, valued at about US$6 billion.

Ho spearheaded what is known in Macau as the junket VIP system, whereby middlemen act on behalf of casinos by extending credit to gamblers and taking responsibility for collecting debts.

Some of Ho’s children have become successful gaming operators in their own right. Daughter Pansy is the co-chairperson of MGM Resorts’ Macau unit while son Lawrence runs Melco Resorts & Entertainment.

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