A veteran promoter of VIP gaming in Macau has confirmed to GGRAsia that “for about six months” he has again been involved in such a business arrangement: in this case with Macau gaming concessionaire MGM China Holdings Ltd at its two properties, MGM Macau and MGM Cotai.
U Io Hong, who has many years of experience in VIP play promotion – historically referred to as the junket sector – told GGRAsia that to his knowledge, only a few similar junket-casino partnerships currently exist in Macau.
“The [Macau] government, the concessionaires and we junkets are all still trying to explore a way for how VIP gaming of Macau can work in the future,” Mr U explained.
At least two other Macau concessionaires are hosting gaming promoters at their casinos, GGRAsia has been told by industry sources.
Such activity is still permitted for government-licensed promoters. But the sector saw a major drop off in business, coinciding with the high-profile detention – in November 2021 and January this year respectively – of two of the biggest junket bosses: Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, of the Suncity brand, and Levo Chan Weng Lin, of the Tak Chun brand, on separate allegations of running illegal gambling operations.
Mr U’s licensed junket entity, Pacific Intermediário Sociedade Unipessoal Lda, is operating VIP play at designated pits at MGM Macau and MGM Cotai. The activity is via a rolling-chip programme, and does not involve any revenue split with the concessionaire partner, Mr U said.
He added that his current client roster involves players from outside mainland China.
The mainland’s crackdown on any “cross-border gambling” involving its citizens, had put any sourcing of mainland patrons, or issuing gaming credit or collecting debts from such consumers, off limits, and created a “huge risk”, for anyone that might try it, Mr U remarked to GGRAsia.
The remaining gaming promoters working in the Macau market, are facing the prospect of “restrictive” licensing terms and regulatory requirements, noted Mr U. The fresh conditions are set out in a new consolidating bill called “Regime for the exploitation of games of chance”. The bill was likely to be given a second – and final – reading by November, Macau legislator Chan Chak Mo told reporters in August.
In the bill, the Macau government has proposed that any Macau gaming promoter can only work with a single Macau casino concessionaire. The government has also proposed to outlaw any casino-revenue split between junkets and their partnering casino concessionaires.
Mr U remarked to GGRAsia there were uncertainties that cloud the continuity of his own junket business, namely the final version of the bill that sets out the regulatory terms for junkets, as well as the outcome of the public-tender process in which the six incumbent Macau casino operators are seeking each to secure a new, 10-year concession term.
GGRAsia has asked each of the the city’s current six casino operators to confirm which junkets – if any – they are currently working with. We had not received replies from any of them, by the time this story went online.
Several Macau casino operators had previously confirmed termination of partnership with junket operators with effect from December last year. The retreat of the junket sector coincided with the closure of all VIP rooms of the then major junket promoter, Suncity Group, on December 1.
Dec 03, 2022The trial of former gambling junket head Levo Chan Weng Lin (pictured in a file photo) and other defendants linked to junket brand Tak Chun Group is set to start on Monday morning (December 5). Mr...
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