The total number of licensed gaming promoters in Macau – also known as junkets – shrank by 13.5 percent over the past 12 months.
The total fell from 126 in January 2017 to 109 this year, according to the latest updated list of licensed operators published on Wednesday by the city’s gaming regulator, the Gaming and Inspection and Coordination Bureau. The figure includes both companies and individuals licensed as junkets.
The gaming regulator did not provide on Wednesday an explanation for the decrease in licensed junkets. Gaming promoter licenses are issued or renewed by the local regulator on an annual basis.
The fall recorded in 2018 marks the fifth consecutive year of decline in the number of licensed junkets in the Macau market. In January 2013, Macau had a total of 235 licensed junkets, according to official data.
The Macau gaming regulator began implementing from 2015 stricter operating rules for the junket operators.
Paulo Martins Chan, director of the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, said in December that an amendment bill set to regulate the city’s junkets would enter the legislation process in 2018.
With the amendment, the Macau government is proposing a higher capital deposit for any licensed casino junkets newly registered in Macau. The junkets’ shareholder structure, suitability and financial strength are also the areas that the government would look into with the amendment bill, Mr Chan noted at the time.
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Andrew Lee and David Katz
Analysts at brokerage Jefferies LLC