The number of licensed gaming junkets in Macau continues to decline. The activity that once raked millions has been subject to scrutiny in the last few years.
The crackdown on junkets amid alleged ties with criminal organizations started late in 2021. Back then, Alvin Chau, who used to be the CEO of the popular junket Suncity Group was arrested. Then, early last year, Tak Chun Group’s CEO was also apprehended over alleged ties to criminal organizations and illegal gambling.
Now, in 2023, there are a total of 36 junkets licensed by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau in Macau, a report released by IAG reveals. This year marks another decline in the number of licensed gaming junkets. In fact, last year, the number of licensed junkets was 46, while a year before that, in 2021, it was 85.
Looking back even further, the number of junket operators that secured a license now looks tiny, considering that back in 2019, there were 100 such licenses. In the golden years of the activity, for example, back in 2013, the number of junkets was even higher, reaching as much as 235.
New Rules Expected to Crate a Robust Market
In line with the new licenses, the gaming junket operators must now comply with new rules. Each of the junkets must join forces with the concessionaires in Macau, which are currently a total of six. Although concessionaires are allowed to work with different junkets, the junket operators can only sign a contract with a single concessionaire.
Among the recently licensed junkets, there are Novo Clube VIP Legend, Hoi Seng and Haishen Group, all of which operated last year already. Not unexpectedly, in light of allegations of ties with criminal entities and arrests, Tak Chun Group and Suncity Group are missing from the latest list of licensed gaming junkets.
Kwok Chi Chung was among the operators that secured a junket gaming license for 2023. The operator revealed that the new rules will undoubtedly impact the profitability of the activity. However, according to the operator, the reduced number of junkets will help create a robust market and ensure fair competition.
Kwok Chi Chung pointed out that there is still room for profit and predicted that one of the major markets for junkets will be Hong Kong. The operator added that the gaming junkets would need to be “more cautious with mainland visitors.”
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Jan 4, 2023