A shortage of liquid cash available to Macau VIP gambling rooms is likely to have been a factor in junkets capping cash-out efforts by patrons, several industry sources have separately told GGRAsia.
One junket said in a formal statement to GGRAsia that it was adopting “new policies” on redemption and “account transfers”, but that such policies had been instituted by casino operators.
The flow of inbound tourists and gamblers to Macau had reached a record low in terms of recent data, and might be a factor in terms of liquidity for the city’s junket rooms, said Kwok Chi Chung, president of a junket trade body, the Macau Association of Gaming and Entertainment Promoters.
“There has been no fresh flow of Hong Kong dollars in the casinos,” remarked Mr Kwok to GGRAsia, alluding to the currency mostly used to denominate Macau casino bets.
As a result, “of course the junkets would not allow the patrons to redeem their chips and change them into cash so easily now,” added Mr Kwok. His view was echoed by the other junket sources, who asked not to be identified.
That coincided with reports of greater scrutiny by the authorities in mainland China of money moved outside the mainland for gambling and other purposes.
China’s reinforced scrutiny on cross-border gambling activities, and its monitoring effort on financial transactions, had also fuelled concerns among some high-roller patrons, and hence discouraged them from making gaming trips to Macau, said the two junket sources. That further clouded the recovery prospect for Macau’s VIP gaming sector, they added.
The phenomena of limits on cashing out from junkets also arises against the background of the Covid-19 pandemic, that has seen an 81.6-percent year-on-year decline in Macau casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) up to August 31.
In pre-pandemic trading times, patrons of Macau VIP junket rooms had been able freely to redeem their deposited cash chips or convert them into cash in the various rooms, GGRAsia’s sources said. Although such high-value players are asked to gamble by “rolling” non-negotiable chips, their deposits are typically kept as cash chips to make the accounting process easier, the people said.
Suncity Group, which has previously been described by investment analysts as Macau’s biggest junket brand by rolling chip volume, confirmed to GGRAsia in a statement that the firm had, since August, adopted “new policies” on how its patrons could redeem their cash chips, and conduct “account transfers”.
It said the step was “in compliance with the new policies of different casinos, as well as to protect its clients and their privacy”.
The junket brand added: “VIP Clubs of Suncity Group require all chip withdrawal and account transfers to be operated by the account holder, or official authorised person(s) who signed [an] agreement with [the] account holder and [that was] witnessed in person.”
Suncity added: “Since the limits policies are set by different casinos… Suncity is not in a position to speak on behalf of them.”
Several junket industry sources noted to GGRAsia that many Macau gaming operators and their partnering junkets had – starting from this summer – implemented new limitations on how patrons could redeem their gaming chips deposited at the junket rooms, with such constraints varying from venue to venue.
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Apr 16, 2021
Tax revenue collected by the Macau government from the city’s gaming industry in the first three months of 2021