The proposed crime relating to “illegal taking of deposits” means neither Macau junkets nor their “collaborators” will be able independently to hold any funds on behalf of gamblers – with or without payable interest. Only a casino concessionaire will be permitted to hold such funds, said veteran Macau legislator Chan Chak Mo, in Friday comments to reporters.
He was clarifying the meaning and purpose of a provision in a consolidating bill – “Regime for the exploitation of games of chance” – that covers licensing and regulatory matters for junkets and their collaborators, and for what are known in the industry as “management companies”.
A “management company” is an entity that manages all or part of a Macau casino of a gaming concessionaire. Historically, this entity has covered management services at so-called satellite casinos. A junket “collaborator” is a sub-agent that has typically acted as an intermediary between a player, and a junket and its casino concessionaire partner.
Mr Chan heads a committee tasked with scrutinising the consolidating bill. Since the bill had its first reading in the Legislative Assembly on April 20, the committee has so far had five sessions to discuss it, and will have meetings with government officials to clarify various matters.
According to the bill, any individual at either a junket operator, management company, or collaborator that either “requests”, “solicits”, or “accepts” a deposit in the form either of cash, gaming chips, or other kind of funds from others, with the intention of “obtaining benefits related to games of chance in a casino”, could face a penalty of imprisonment ranging from two to five years.
The committee had sought further legal guidance from the government on the intent and implication of that provision, Mr Chan reiterated in his Friday comments.
He said the feedback was that neither junket operators, their collaborators, nor management companies could accept any forms of deposit from players, even if the amount deposited was not interest-bearing.
“The money can only be deposited with the gaming concessionaires,” Mr Chan stated.
He added: “The logic behind [it] is – as mentioned by the government [in the first reading of this bill] in the plenary session – junkets should not have their own working desk [at the gaming floors] or cage. The deposit [from patrons] can be kept in the gaming concessionaire’s cage; the junkets’ role is only to bring clients.”
With such an approach, “the flow of money dealings [between casinos and patrons] will be clear,” the legislator stated.
The committee is to ask the government whether it plans within the current legislative term – which is due to end in August – to revise the existing gaming credit law. In April, the goverment had said that statute would be revised “in due time”.
The legislation – known as Law No.5/2004 – governs the granting of gaming credit by the city’s casino operators and junket operators.
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