The Macau Association of Gaming and Entertainment Promoters – a trade organisation for the Macau government-licensed firms that lend stake money to VIP gamblers visiting the city – says it is “not giving up” its plan to establish a central credit database to track credit issued to individual players. The association wants to press forward despite having no feedback from the government regarding approval for the scheme, and after spending months preparing the project.
The risk of bad debt is a constant problem for the Macau junket sector, especially for the smaller licensed gaming promoters that may not have a player pool large enough to maintain steady capital liquidity in the event of player defaults. There have been anecdotal reports of players already blacklisted by one gaming promoter due to credit default, then registering with another and gaining fresh credit. This was said to be possible because junket organisations were not always sharing intelligence on such matters.
Kwok Chi Chung, president of the junket association, told GGRAsia his group was still waiting for a response from the city’s Personal Data Protection Office regarding the credit database proposal and when it might be permitted to launch.
“Before the departure of Mr Vasco Fong from his office, we received two directives requesting some amendments to the setup of the credit database,” Mr Kwok told us in a phone interview.
Until his resignation this summer to take up a judicial role, Mr Fong was head of the Personal Data Protection Office. Yang Chongwei – a long-serving official at the data watchdog – has been promoted to that role.
Mr Kwok explained the amendments as proposed by the data watchdog included “that the gambling customers should be able to access the database system to check their credit information”. “Also, we have to ensure the [gambling] debtor’s information has to be removed once he or she has repaid the loan”, added the junket association head.
GGRAsia approached the Personal Data Protection Office asking about the progress of the junket association’s database request and asking for clarification on the data watchdog’s proposed amendments to the protocols for the scheme. The office said only that it was “still processing and analysing the application”.
At a panel discussion during the Macao Gaming Show 2016 – a casino industry trade show and conference held in November – Mr Kwok had mentioned the association hoped to have its central credit database operating by calendar year 2017. In comments at the event he said high rollers would be requested – when applying for credit from junkets – to sign an authorisation form allowing disclosure of their credit details and the addition of such information to the database.
Currently Mr Kwok told us: “We’re not giving up this credit database system.” He added: “We believe that the database is important for the industry. And it is not only reserved for the junket firms: we also welcome the house clubs [casino operators] to lodge their VIP gaming clients’ information in this system.”
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”Given that the blanket casino closure [in Macau due to Typhoon Mangkhut] happened on an all-important weekend day… we expect that somewhere between MOP1.1 billion [US$136.2 million] and MOP1.5 billion in GGR will be lost”
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