Adriano Marques Ho To Head Macau Gaming Regulator

On June 10, Adriano Marques Ho will take office as head of the gaming regulator for Macau, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, also known as DICJ. The news was provided by economics and finance secretary Lei Wai Nong on Friday, as quoted by several media outlets.

Mr Lei is the official in government who oversees the gaming industry in the region. His office announced earlier this week that Paulo Martins Chan had stepped down as director of the Bureau for Gaming Inspection and Coordination. The confirmation came after Mr Ho announced Mr Chan would be replaced by Macau News Agency.

Mr Ho was an advisor to Wong Sio Chak, the city’s Secretary for Defense. Mr Chan will return to public prosecutor work.

On Friday Secretary Lei told reporters that Mr Ho had “very good experience” related to gaming sector oversight. That was interpreted as a reference to his spell in Macau ‘s Judicial Police, where he headed the investigation unit for gaming-related and economic crimes.

Mr Lei said that the change in the leadership of DICJ would not adversely affect research on the ongoing revision of the gaming law of the region. He claimed that such work was being carried out at a higher government level, and that DICJ had a more operational role in regulating the casino industry in the region.

In April, Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng told the city’s Legislative Assembly that the local government was preparing to begin a public consultation on Macau ‘s latest gaming law reform in the second half of this year. When the gaming system legislation has been amended, a fresh public tendering process for Macau ‘s gaming rights will be introduced. Six casino operators actually retain these rights, which expire in June 2022.

Mr Chan managed a corruption case involving now Secretary Lei prior to his tenure as president of DICJ and as assistant public prosecutor general. In 2015, Macao ‘s Second Instance Court exonerated Mr Lei of any wrongdoing. The case concerned the allocation of a public cemetery with 10 grave spaces.

Secretary Lei denied in his comments on Friday the resignation of Mr Chan from the gaming office could be seen as a retaliatory move for his role in prosecuting the case. “Don’t over-complicate,” he told reporters, adding that a final decision on the matter had already been reached by court.

Mr Lei added that Mr Chan had already asked the previous Secretary for Economic Affairs and Finance to allow him to return to the public prosecutor’s office. In December of last year, Mr Lei became Secretary, as part of a new administration headed by incoming Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng.