A Macau court has ruled against the city’s casino regulator, saying it has no right to block access of interested parties to the list of VIP gaming promoters working with individual casino operators.
The ruling, by Macau’s Court of Second Instance (pictured), is dated from July 27, and was subsequently lodged online. The decision overturned a previous ruling on the case by the city’s Administrative Court.
Gaming promoters – a group of businesses also known as junket operators – are typically understood in the casino industry context to be third parties that bring high-value gamblers to casinos. Junkets are themselves licensed to organise the issuing of credit for high stakes play, and the collection of money from any credit-fuelled gambling losses incurred by the players.
The gaming regulator publishes annually a list of licensed junket operators in Macau. The list does not detail the links between each junket operator and the city’s six licensed casino operators.
The latest list – made available in January – showed the total number of licensed junkets in Macau had shrank by 10.6 percent over the past 12 months to 126. The figure included both companies and individuals licensed as junkets.
The ruling from the Court of Second Instance is related with a request filed in February with Macau’s casino regulator – the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, also known as DICJ – by a local lawyer. The lawyer aimed to have access to the list of junkets registered with a gaming operator, but his request was denied. The operator was not named in the ruling.
The lawyer – also not named in the document – had argued that the list of junkets was relevant for two legal cases he was working on behalf of a client, also unnamed in the ruling.
In its decision, the Court of Second Instance noted that the gaming regulator had counter-argued that the list of junkets associated with each gaming operator was classified information under Macau law. The court however had a different view on the matter.
The ruling stated that if the request covered only disclosure of the names of the junkets registered with a particular operator – and not details about the respective business relationships – such information should be made available to parties able to show they had a legitimate, direct interest in such data.
The court also noted that DICJ had previously agreed for four times – namely in 2013 and 2015 – to provide access to the same lawyer to lists of junkets working for particular casino operators, before changing its view on the matter.
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Direct taxes on gaming collected by the Macau government in full calendar year 2018