The International Union of Operating Engineers, a U.S.-based trade union, on Monday said it had sent a communication to Wang Qishan, head of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, to highlight what the union referred to as “flaws” in Macau’s regulation of the VIP junket system in the city’s casinos.
“We believe that the Party’s current anti-corruption initiatives cannot fully meet their objectives without increased regulation of Macau’s junket industry, particularly the third-party profit participants, credit guarantors and financing syndicates of a junket operation,” said a statement from union representative Jeff Fiedler. He was referring to mainland China’s much-publicised crackdown on graft, and the recent dramatic reduction in the volume of VIP gambling money passing through Macau’s casinos.
Since its handover from Portuguese administration in 1999, Macau has been a Special Administrative Region of China with the right to make its own laws and policies in many areas. Two notable exceptions are defence and international relations.
China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection is responsible for investigating and if necessary instituting enforcement action against Communist Party members accused of disciplinary breaches. Where such disciplinary actions are reported in the mainland media they are often – but not exclusively – related to allegations of corruption.
The U.S.-based union added that while Macau does have suitability checks on those applying to be licensed as gaming promoters for the city’s casino VIP rooms, other people often associated with VIP operations were not scrutinised or licensed in that way.
“The law does not… require these strict licensing protocols for other influential participants in the junket industry, such as the third-party financiers, credit guarantors and profit participants of gaming promoters. Through these channels individuals with problematic backgrounds are positioned to acquire substantial interest in and control over junket operations,” suggested the union.
GGRAsia asked Macau’s gaming regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, for a comment, but there was no reply by the time this story went online.
The U.S. labour union, principally representing construction workers, has for several years supported what it describes as independent websites that have campaigned on regulatory issues linked to the Macau gaming industry. The first was a website called Casinoleaks-Macau.com which launched in February 2012 and went offline in September 2012. The second is Cotailanddeal.com, which is still online and has made as its topic the circumstances surrounding the purchase of the land parcels being used to build Wynn Resorts Ltd’s US$4.1-billion Wynn Palace resort on Cotai.
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