Regulators in the U.S. have intensified probes into Macau-based junkets and their relationships with Nevada-owned casino business groups. Mark Lipparelli, chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB), told Wall Street Journal reporters that junkets in Macau are “becoming an area of increased attention for us.” His comments came after International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), in Macau, calls for Neptune Group to investigated were roundly dismissed by Macau’s gaming industry regulator. Even before this, Nevada regulators had increased scrutiny into whether junkets have links to organized crime syndicates in the Far East.
Jeff Fielder, IUOE director of special projects and point person for Casino-Leaks Macau, the site that revealed documents accusing Neptune Group, poured fuel on the fire, stating that Nevada regulators’ lack of action “is no longer acceptable,” and: “We think Macau is a sore on Nevada.”
Junkets and casinos were contacted by WSJ and have yet to make a statement on any of the alleged infractions. Even before Fielder’s words of encouragement, Nevada had raised the registration fee for “independent agents” bringing gamblers from China to Nevada from $750 to $2000. The problem is the huge increase in gambling revenue in the desert in January was in no small part down to Chinese New Year. If gamblers from China aren’t able to continue their journeys to Sin City this could dry up.
Dealers in the gambling industry’s global centre are increasingly turning to the industry for kicks. A study published by Lusa suggests workers are “motivated” by the “easiness” of making money from the enclave’s plethora of casinos. Carla Coteriano, who carried out the study, surveyed 815 workers and reported that educating and raising awareness – not simply imposing tighter restrictions – would solve any problems.
A study added to this by suggesting the government should allow non-local dealers to work in the enclave’s businesses. Jornal Tribuna de Macau report a Macau Polytechnic Institute study suggesting it should be a “gradual process” and priority be given to those from Hong Kong. It’s the latest call for imported dealers to be allowed after a similar one from Francis Lui, Galaxy Entertainment Group vice chairman.