The Macau government is proposing that the city’s licensed junkets are banned from themselves issuing credit to any gamblers using the local casinos.
That is according to comments on Friday by Chan Chak Mo (pictured in a file photo), head of a standing committee of the Macau Legislative Assembly tasked with scrutinising a draft bill on the topic.
He was speaking to media after a closed-doors meeting of the committee held at the assembly building.
Macau’s Legislative Assembly gave in May a first nod to a new bill on casino concessionaire- and junket-issued credit for gambling. The bill has since been under review by Mr Chan’s committee.
The original bill, titled “legal regime of credit concession for gambling in casinos”, stated that only casino concessionaires and junkets would be permitted to issue credit. Though it proposed that junkets had to have a formal contract for the purpose of granting credit, with any gaming concessionaire they tied to.
The Macau government is now proposing that junkets are no longer permitted to issue credit, according to Mr Chan.
Lei Wai Nong, Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, an official with policy oversight of the casino sector; and Adriano Marques Ho, director of the city’s casino regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, attended Friday’s committee meeting, but left without speaking to reporters.
Legislator Mr Chan clarified after the meeting, that the government’s proposal “deletes” current “provisions that allow gaming promoters to issue gaming credit in their name”.
He added the proposal “retains the rule whereby – with an agent contract” reached with casino concessionaires – “gaming promoters can…assist in bringing clients, serving them and thereby earn commission for their services.”
Macau junkets currently have nothing like the scope and volume of business that they had in their heyday up to a few years ago. The tally of junkets in Macau shrank by 21.7 percent year-on-year, to 36 in January this year, showed official data.
VIP baccarat – the game of choice for high-value players in Macau whether directly-managed by the casino operators or issued with credit by junkets – accounted for only 24.1 percent of all Macau casino gross gaming revenue in the third quarter, according to government data.
But even under the new regulatory framework for the current 10-year gaming concessions that started in January, junkets – officially known locally as “gaming promoters” – still had the ability directly to issue credit.
Mr Chan stated in his Friday comments that his committee’s members had “no issues” accepting the government’s latest proposal on bet credit rules.
“The casino concessionaires are licensed gaming companies, and they are listed, and with a more comprehensive framework” in the managing and control of gambling-related credit, than could be offered by other parties, Mr Chan told reporters.
He said further discussions on the bill were expected to continue into February – a timetable later than had been anticipated – followed by a final reading at a plenary session of the assembly.
Mr Chan stated he expected that it could take around “four months” for such a law to be promulgated after the Legislative Assembly gave a final nod to the bill, meaning that the law might only come into effect in the middle of next year.
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