Macau poker machines to feature time clock from 2024
A new feature is set to be required on all poker machines in Macau by 2024 with reports that all player screens in Macau machines must be fitted with an intermittently flashing clock showing the local time by the end of 2024.
The requirement, according to GGR Asia, is part of the city’s Electronic Gaming Machine Technical Standards version 2.0, which came into force on September 1.
The term “electronic gaming machine” or EGM, is used in Macau to denote casino poker machines.
Electronic table games, or ETGs, are covered by separate technical standards.
“The purpose of a clock on the gaming machine is for the promotion of responsible gambling,” the Macau regular, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau said.
That was understood to be a reference to the clock acting as a reminder to players about how much time they are spending on the device.
“All machines will need to be retrofitted with the clock by the end of year 2024,” the gaming regulator said.
Manufacturers expected to integrate new software from October
Starting from this month, the Macau regulator will offer a grace period in which gaming equipment makers will be required to retrofit existing machines with the necessary software and ensure new machines supplied to the Macau market will have such a clock feature as standard, by the end of 2024.
As of June 30, the end of the second quarter, the Macau market had 9,871 poker machines, according to data from the regulator.
The gaming bureau confirmed that the figure included electronic table game terminals and poker machines.
The time display on machines will be in 12-hour clock format, in the bottom-right corner of the player main screen, according to the technical standards.
The standards also specify that the player screen or other interface points must not have any hidden touch points or hidden buttons that affect game play.
That is understood by the industry to be a regulatory response to developments in touchscreen technology.
The gaming bureau was asked about its thoughts on a ban on hidden touch points or hidden buttons on poker machine player screens, but it only opted to quote from the new standards.
“As stated in Section 4.5 (3) of the standards: “There shall be no hidden or undocumented touch points or buttons anywhere on the player interface that affect game play and/or that impact the integrity or outcome of the game, except as provided for by the game rules”.”
Macau draft gaming law open for public consultation
A draft gaming law developed in Macau has entered 45 days of public consultation, with proposed changes focusing on areas of social responsibility, non-gaming development, strengthening government supervision and strengthening penalties for violation.
The latter of those looms large for junkets, with the government looking to clamp down on the practice of VIP rooms accepting player deposits and to hold concessionaires more accountable for the actions of junkets operating under their roof.
“During the daily operation, it is common that players will deposit certain money they win as a deposit with the casino and junkets,” Credit Suisse analysts wrote.
“The regulation against such practice may not only shrink the working capital pool of the players, but also increase the transactional costs of the high end players as they would have to transfer money to Macau for gambling every time.”