November 16, 2022 Macau
Macau’s Legislative Assembly is expected to hold by “mid-December” a second-reading debate and final vote on a consolidating bill to regulate the activities of junket operators and management companies. The information was disclosed on Monday by veteran legislator Chan Chak Mo, in comments to local media.
Mr Chan leads a Legislative Assembly committee tasked with scrutinising the bill. His remarks followed a closed-doors meeting on Monday with several Macau government officials – including Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong – to review a new version of the bill.
The latest draft included some changes to the original version that was approved by legislators in a first-reading vote in April.
The Macau government expects that enactment of the bill is aligned with a new generation of casino concession contracts, featuring six new 10-year Macau licences. The local authorities have said they hope to start the new concession term on January 1, 2023.
The latest draft did not include major changes to the previously-proposed licensing terms and regulatory requirements for Macau’s authorised junket entities, known locally as gaming promoters, Mr Chan said in response to a question by GGRAsia.
Individuals would no longer be licensed as junkets; only companies, the bill states.
Another licensing term the bill proposes is that junket firms have to get MOP10 million (US$1.24 million) in share capital ready, in addition to a bank guarantee they need to commit. Each Macau junket will only be allowed to work with a single Macau casino concessionaire.
Mr Chan said the Macau government planned, in the future, to make publicly available information on the maximum number of junket operators each Macau casino operator was entitled to work with. The government also planned to make publicly available the list of junket partners of each Macau casino operator, he added.
One of the goals of the bill is to establish an appropriate scale for the Macau junket sector; the latest draft further emphasises that, said Mr Chan.
According to information provided by the government to Mr Chan’s committee, there are currently 46 licensed junket entities in the Macau market. It was not clear how many of those were currently active.
Under the terms of the new bill, these firms would need to secure a partner agreement with a holder of one of the new generation Macau casino concession contracts, in order to be allowed to continue in operation.
The latest draft includes a fresh article covering the topic of joint liability between casino operators and junkets, Mr Chan said. It states the joint liability that gaming concessionaires and junkets must bear regarding junket-generated VIP business.