US-based union trade has identified a number of lending and consulting firms across China that have links with junket groups.
International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), on its website Macau Gaming Watch, has released a list of about 29 enterprises in China set up by individuals that are connected to Macau junket companies.
According to the list, most of the companies are based in mainland Chinese cities Zhuhai, Shenzhen, Beijing and Hong Kong and are involved in financial lending and investment consulting sectors.
“A set of Beijing-based companies linked to the ‘Cui’ family behind Macau’s Heng Sheng junket group operate as jewelry, pawnshop and loan outfits,” the union stated.
IUOE also noted that some companies were controlled by Macau’s most influential junket groups, such as SunCity Group, David Group, Tak Chun Group and Meg-Star International.
“We are aware of no existing research efforts to systematically identify the corporate assets of Macau’s junket operators in the Chinese mainland and other locations outside of Macau. This list represents, we believe, the first glimpse of junket interests to scale inside of China,” said IUOE representative Jeff Fielder.
Fiedler said that the list could be useful for the government to keep track of junket’s network, corporate infrastructures, and ability to handle cross-border capital movement.
The list was made available to Chinese Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, as well as to government agencies in Macau and the United States.
“What should be troubling to investors in casino stocks is that casinos don’t disclose to the public what junkets they’re doing business with,” Fiedler said. “Casino revenue could be affected if Dore has trouble raising money from lenders to provide credit for gamblers, he added.
The IUOE, which represents mostly construction workers, also calls for greater transparency from casino companies regarding their dealings with junket operators.
“This lack of transparency makes it impossible right now for investors to adequately assess risk in Macau casinos,” said Fiedler. “If the shareholding public had access to better information, then there may not be these confused market panics like what we saw this past week.”