Macau’s Legislative Assembly (pictured in a plenary session) aims to approve by mid-August a new law for junkets, noted veteran legislator Chan Chak Mo, in Thursday comments to local media.
“The new law will spell out the definitions of junkets, management companies and collaborators as well as the scope of businesses that they are authorised to operate,” said Mr Chan, following a closed-door meeting between an assembly committee he heads and government delegates.
Junkets, referred to by the Macau authorities as gaming promoters, have typically been the go-betweens between rich players – mostly from China – and casino operators, for VIP gambling in the Macau market.
According to recent statements by Macau gaming operators, the industry’s cooperation with Macau-licensed junkets was largely paused during the fourth quarter of 2021. That has coincided with two high-profile figures in the local junket segment being detained on suspicion of facilitating illegal forms to gambling.
Junkets have been subject up to now to administrative regulations as well as licensing. They will still need a government licence in future, but the specific new law would regulate them via statute, as part of an overall fresh framework for the industry as Macau moves toward a new public tender for gaming rights, according to Mr Chan.
Commentators on the industry have mentioned that other people traditionally associated with the junket sector – “collaborators”, also known as “sub-agents – have not themselves historically been licensed by the government. Some have viewed that as a regulatory loophole.
Mr Chan heads a committee of the Legislative Assembly that is tasked with scrutinising another piece of legislation – the gaming law amendment bill.
The latter draft bill has already set out a broad regulatory framework for the industry – and mentions some new rules concerning junkets.
These include that each Macau junket must in future work with a single Macau casino concessionaire, and that junkets will be forbidden to contract use of any part of a concessionaire’s casino for junket operations in their own right.
In addition, junkets will also be forbidden to share casino revenue, with any gaming concessionaire with which they work. That includes via either commission or profit share: two ways junkets traditionally have made a living alongside concessionaires.
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