“Accountability,” is the word that will best describe casino operators in Macau, the special administrative region bordering China, that is undergoing rapid reregulation of its gambling industry. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the region to look for alternative revenue sources, with most of its GDP depending on casino concessionaires.
Casinos Will Handle Deposits on Their Own
This is about to change as Macau is looking for other ways to boost tourism and introduce more transparency to the sector. Part of this concerns how casinos and customers will interact moving forward. After legislators introduced the Legal Framework for Operating Games of Chance in Casinos bill at the end of last week, one notable item in it was the rule that moving forward, it should be casinos who handle deposits by players.
In the past, junket operators could accept money on behalf of casinos and deposit with said casinos. A recent spate of legal action whereby VIP customers sued casinos successfully has made lawmakers a little more concerned about deposits not reaching their intended target, though. As a result, moving forward casinos will be the sole entities to handle casino depositors’ money without any intermediaries involved.
The bill touches on other important aspects of the experience that SARA’s Second Standing Committee of the Legislative Assembly examined, including how present junkets would be. That would really depend on local demand. Many casinos have already said that they would rather cut the middleman for fear of not being able to monitor their operations all the time.
Most casinos explain this with fears that the wrong move by a junket could lead to legal complications with the local regulators. Junkets are going to be operating in a dramatically decreased capacity in Macau as well. For example, agents will no longer divvy up any money with casinos, which means that without said commissions their incentive to try harder would probably diminish, but it would at the same time strike down predatory practices where customers feel pressured to gamble excessively.
Junket Operators Lose Momentum in Macau
Private rooms will also disappear, and casinos would no longer allow dedicated VIP digs that bear the branding of a junket operator. There have been mixed reactions to how this would impact casinos’ bottom lines. Eliminating the middleman would in theory boost revenue, but only if the foot traffic is matched.
Each junket will only work with a single casino concessionaire moving forward, which has already had a bearing on the total number of license holders in Macau. There are fewer than 40 junket operators who have reapplied for a license.