Macau junkets seek higher capital reserves for new operators


macau-junket-operator-capital-reserveMacau casino junket operators should be required to maintain significantly higher capital reserves to keep pace with the resurgent VIP gambling market and ensure investor confidence, according to a local junket rep.

On Sunday, Macau broadcaster TDM featured an interview with Kwok Chi Chung, the head of Macau’s Association of Gaming and Entertainment Promoters, which represents junket interests in the world’s top casino gambling hub.

The current capital deposit threshold for Macau-registered junkets is a mere MOP 100k (US $12,500). In April 2016, Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau proposed boosting this sum to MOP 10m ($1.25m). On Sunday, Kwok went even further, suggesting the reserve fund should be raised to MOP 50m ($6.2m) to ensure new junkets are capable of withstanding the occasionally wild variance of Macau’s VIP gambling market.

The following day, Kwok told GGRAsia that the increased capital requirements were needed to keep pace with the “multibillions” of patacas that many Macau junkets were turning over on a monthly basis. Kwok said the roughly 120 registered junkets that survived Macau’s recent downturn “would not be affected” by the change.

More importantly, the requirement to maintain a larger capital reserve could discourage some sketchier would-be junkets from throwing their hat into the ring. Macau’s junket industry suffered a crisis of investor confidence a few years back when a host of operators folded due to a lack of liquidity and numerous internal theft scandals.

Kwok said his group had also urged the DICJ to require licensing for junket “collaborators,” i.e. associates who help rope in new VIP gamblers and arrange both credit and payments of gambling debts.

A boosted capital requirement wouldn’t have prevented three mainland Chinese men from being scammed by a couple of con artists posting as junket operators. On Tuesday, the Macau Daily Times reported that local police had arrested a man named Song who, along with an accomplice, conned the mainlanders out of HKD 200k ($25,600).

Earlier this spring, Song reportedly told the mainlanders that he was a junket promoter and could provide free food and lodging at a Cotai hotel. Once the men had checked in, Song took them to dinner, then took their money and said he and his partner would be back with casino chips. Only they never returned.

The mainlanders reported Song to the local police, and Song was busted last week while trying to re-enter Macau. Song copped to his guilt in the scam but claimed his share of the stolen funds amounted to only HKD 10k, while his accomplice, who remains at large, kept the rest.