The number of licensed gaming promoters in Macau – also known as junkets – shrank by almost 16 percent over the past 12 months.
The total fell from 217 in January 2014 to just 183, according to figures updated earlier this month obtained by public broadcaster Rádio Macau. The figures include both companies and individuals licensed as junkets.
VIP gross gaming revenue (GGR) in Macau fell by 29.0 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter and 10.9 percent for the full-year of 2014, according to official data published earlier this month.
The city’s gaming regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, is expected to release later this month an updated list of licensed junket operators. The list is published yearly.
From the 34 junkets that were dropped from the latest list, 19 requested the cancellation of their licences, while the remaining 15 did not renew their licences, Rádio Macau reported.
At least two junket operators announced this month they were reducing their operations in Macau. Gold Moon Group last week confirmed the closure of a VIP gambling room it operated at Sands China Ltd’s Sands Cotai Central resort. Earlier, David Group had stated that it would close some of its VIP rooms in Macau.
Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong Vai Tac has already said the government is closely following the closure of VIP rooms in Macau.
Macau Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On on Sunday said that the closure of VIP rooms was “normal” and part of the “adjustment phase” the city’s casino industry is going through. GGR in Macau has dropped for seven consecutive months measured on year-on-year terms, and the majority of analysts expects the downturn to continue at least during the first half of 2015.
The Macau government last week announced the establishment of a task force on the gaming industry, with the main goal being to address the issue of potential job layoffs in the sector.
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”The Macau government is not aiming to trivialise or drive out the junket sector, but to regulate the sector so that it would not hurt Macau’s reputation”
Alvin Chau Cheok Wa
Chief executive of privately-held VIP junket business Suncity Group