CASINO

AERL profit halved in Q1; junket operator wants VIP deadbeat blacklist

TAGs: AERL, Asia Entertainment & Resources, junkets, Macau

macau-junket-blacklist-aerlNasdaq-listed Macau VIP gaming room promoter Asia Entertainment & Resources Ltd. (AERL) continued to struggle in the first quarter of 2013, with rolling chip turnover down 24% to $4.1b and net income off 55% to $7m. Things would have been worse had it not been for a 3.29% win rate, above the normalized range of 2.85% to 3%.

AERL, which controls 34 tables across four VIP gaming rooms, has seen its fortunes fall ever since it tightened its lending to junket agents midway through 2012 in response to China’s cooling economy. But AERL chairman Man Pou Lam said the company will maintain its strategy to “reduce exposure to undue risk that can impair longer-term growth.” AERL recently inked a memorandum of understanding to acquire VIP gaming room operations at the SJM Holdings-licensed Le Royal Arc Casino.

Over at the G2E Asia conference, junket operator Yu Yio Hung has called for an industry-wide blacklist of VIP gamblers who don’t honor their markers. Yu is the boss of the CCUE junket operations, which has a presence at the MGM Macau, SJM’s L’Arc and Melco Crown’s Altira casinos. Junket operators already informally warn each other about VIP deadbeats, but Yu told a G2E panel that he’d like to see a formalized “blacklist database” so that all junket operators would know not to extend further credit to defaulters.

Gambling debts are unenforceable on the Chinese mainland, but casinos have pursued legal actions against gamblers in Hong Kong’s courts and Melco Crown sued junket operators last December over unpaid debts. Macau’s data privacy laws may need to be altered for Yu’s blacklist to be considered legal. In March, Wynn Macau was fined for sharing info on its hotel guests that found its way into the Louis Freeh report on Universal Entertainment’s hosting of Philippine gaming regulators in Macau.

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