CASINO

Macau public has right to know casino-junket relationships

TAGs: court of second instance, junket operators, junkets, Macau

macau-casino-junket-relationshipsA Macau court has ruled that junket operators must reveal the names of the casinos with which they work in order to maintain public trust. Macau’s Court of Second Instance declared that the Macau economy’s increasing dependence on its gaming sector made transparency of paramount importance, and that there was “nothing restricted, confidential, intimate or secret” about the existence of casino-junket relationships. The ruling, which was handed down on May 23 but only made public last week, gave Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) 10 days in which to make the information available.

The case began in January, when lawyer Vong Chong Kio asked the DICJ for information on two specific junket operators and the casinos with which they’d been working. The DICJ refused to provide the info, so Vong took his case to the Administrative Court, which upheld the DICJ’s stance. Undeterred, Vong appealed, and here we are. The Court of Second Instance said the existing secrecy around junket-casino relationships could not be defended on the basis of player protection, so it had to go.

The three-judge panel split on the decision, as Judge José Cândido de Pinho felt it was his duty to point out that there was nothing in the law specifically compelling the info to be made available to the public. That said, Macau Business Daily quoted de Pinho’s dissenting opinion as acknowledging that the law’s original author probably should have included such a provision, “considering the issues at stake and the interests involved.”

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