The junket business in Macau remains in the doldrums and led to the closure of 30 to 40 VIP gaming rooms in the past six months.
According to Kwok Chi Chung, president of the Association of Gaming and Entertainment Promoters, the number of VIP gaming rooms in Macau has shrunk from 146 to around 100 as junket operators continue to be distressed by bad debts and tighter capital liquidity.
Kwok also attributed the VIP room’s closures to the alleged capital theft from local junket operator Dore Entertainment Co. Ltd. in September, which has prompted some investors to withdraw funds.
“The Dore incident really imposed a negative image on the VIP gaming industry,” Kwok told Macau Business Daily.
The need for improvements was further emphasized when the Macau Judiciary Police (PJ) had confirmed that there was another report of theft of at least HKD 99.7m ($12.5m) from a junket operator working out of L’Arc Macau.
Bernstein said that the recent junket fraud case would speed up the government’s plans to introduce greater junket regulation and such regulations could create headwinds in the junket business and may further limit its ability to raise capital and conduct operations.
The new director of the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) Paulo Martins Chan conducted a meeting on Friday with the Macau Gaming and Entertainment Promoters Association.
During the meeting, Chan, joined by Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong Vai Tac, expressed the government’s intention to improve the legal framework for the gaming sector and one of the directions being pursued is a stricter requirement of licensing junket operators.
Leong re-iterated that junket operators, casino operators and the government would each have their say in ensuring that Macau gaming’s public profile remain healthy.
During his meeting with Macau’s six casino operators last year, Chan also swore to step up his efforts in developing gaming regulations to further improve Macau’s economic competitiveness.