Macau plans to allow in future junket operators and their collaborators to deposit cash or gaming chips on behalf of their patrons, provided such processing is only via customer accounts established with the gaming concessionaires, said veteran legislator Chan Chak Mo, in comments to local media on Monday.
Mr Chan was citing comments by the city’s casino regulator, on how a consolidating bill – that covers licensing and regulatory matters for junkets and so-called satellite casinos – will work in terms of day-to-day gaming operations. Mr Chan’s remarks following a closed-doors meeting with several Macau government officials on Monday. The legislator heads a Legislative Assembly committee tasked with scrutinising the government-proposed bill.
“Junkets still can… on behalf of their patrons, deposit their [patrons'] cash or gaming chips in accounts established at concessionaires, for the purpose of gambling. This rule also extends to collaborators,” said Mr Chan, citing an explanation from the casino regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, shared with his committee on Monday.
In Macau, ‘collaborators’ are traditionally sub-agents that have worked with junkets, to bring in high-value players.
Mr Chan added, citing the regulator’s explanation: “Junket operators and their collaborators have to be able to show that they are authorised [by their patrons] to access the patrons’ accounts, or withdraw money from the account for them, or help them to exchange gaming chips.”
He further noted: “The junkets are allowed to do those [things] now, and will continued to be allowed to do so in future.”
The future exclusive role of casino concessionaires – rather than junkets – as player-account gatekeepers for anti-money laundering and other regulatory purposes, was mentioned on Friday, in the context of a Macau government-proposed additional article to the consolidating bill.
Concessionaires will not be permitted to offer capital interest or other monetary reward to players in return for holding their money or gambling chips. Any person or entity trying to do so would be considered as being involved in an act of “illegal taking of deposits”; a crime punishable by up to five years in prison, according to the bill.
Junket operators, their collaborators, and also ‘management companies’ – the latter that historically have provided management services at satellite casinos – are also specifically barred from directly-holding player deposits, and from offering financial inducement to players in that regard.
Mr Chan had told local media on Friday that he expected the bill would be given a second and final reading and be passed, at a Legislative Assembly plenary session either in “October or mid November”.
The provisions of the bill, once it is passed, would come into effect at the same time as a new round of up to six, 10-year, gaming concessions that are likely to start in January.
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