The total number of licensed gaming promoters in Macau – also known as ‘junkets’ – was halved over the past 12 months. The fall marks the 11th consecutive year of decline in the number of licensed junkets in the Macau market, showed the official data.
The total fell from 36 in January 2023, to 18 this year, according to the latest updated list of licensed operators published by the city’s gaming regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. The announcement did not explain the reasons leading to the decrease.
Around January each year, the gaming regulator publishes a list with the names of all junkets licensed to operate in the city’s casinos. Back in January 2013, Macau had a total of 235 licensed junkets, according to the data kept on record.
Gaming promoters are licensed by the Macau government to support VIP gaming in the city’s casinos.
A number of the 18 currently-licensed gaming promoters had been operating in the Macau market last year, such as Pacific Intermediário Sociedade Unipessoal Lda, and Haishen Grupo Lda.
Under a new legal framework for the sector, each Macau junket is allowed to partner with a single gaming concessionaire. The junket operators are allowed to earn commission – capped at 1.25 percent on rolling chip turnover – for their gaming promotion service. But they are banned from sharing casino revenue in “any form” with the casino concessionaire with which they work, and are also prohibited from operating their own VIP rooms within Macau’s casinos.
The Macau government made public in September the maximum number of junkets that each of the city’s casino operator is able to work with in 2024. The aggregate number was capped at 50, according to the city’s regulator.
The list published in September in the regulator’s website showed that the local units of Sands China Ltd and SJM Holdings Ltd have each been allowed to collaborate with up to 12 junkets in 2024.
The subsidiaries of respectively MGM China Holdings Ltd and Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd can each work with up to eight junket operators this year. The local entities of Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd and Wynn Macau Ltd have each a cap of five junket partners for 2024.
The Macau junket system has involved other “stakeholders” called sub-agents – known under Macau’s regulatory system as “collaborators”. They are typically people with a network of contacts, that have been able to introduce high-value players so the junkets can then host them in a casino VIP room.
The gaming regulator said this week that there were eight licensed collaborators for 2024.
The junket sector saw a major drop off in business, coinciding with the high-profile detention – in November 2021 and January 2022 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.
Last month it was announced that the Macau government is proposing that the city’s licensed junkets are banned from themselves issuing credit to any gamblers using the local casinos.
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