In Macau and representatives from some of the city’s junket firms reportedly joined casino executives at a meeting on Monday in hopes of getting more details on proposed regulatory changes.
According to a Tuesday report from the Reuters news service, the 70-minute gathering called by the local Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau regulator was shown live via an online feed almost a week after the territory’s government put draft proposals concerning its future gaming market out for public consultation.
Macau is currently home to an estate of 41 casinos run under 20-year licenses issued to six operators encompassing Sands China Limited, MGM China Holdings Limited, Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited, Galaxy Entertainment Group Limited, SJM Holdings Limited and Wynn Macau Limited. However, all of these enterprises are to see their existing concessions expire next June as part of a new regime that could substantially alter the way the city licenses, regulates and supervises its gambling businesses.
Reuters reported that the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau has proposed nine areas for change that could potentially see the number of casino licenses reduced and regulators based on gaming floors. The news service disclosed that the existing regulatory framework could moreover be altered to bring in better employee protections and more stringent regulations as well as provisions for more local representation on operator boards.
The proposals put forward by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau are currently subject to a 45-day public consultation that is set to end on October 29 while local junket and casino representatives reportedly attended the Monday meeting so as to gain insights and air their views. Buddy Lam serves as the Public Relations Senior Vice-President for Galaxy Entertainment Group Limited and he purportedly asked for further clarification on the potential responsibilities of any new government regulators that may be brought onto his firm’s casino floor.
Macau lawyer Rui Cunha was reportedly at the meeting on behalf of SJM Holdings Limited and argued that any future casino license period should reflect past investments the applicant may have made in the city of approximately 683,000 people. For his part and Kwok Chi Chung, President for the enclave’s junket association, purportedly then enquired as to how the sector may be legalized and whether members could raise cash from the general public in order to create ‘a better image.’
Reuters reported that junket firms receive a commission for promoting overseas casinos to wealthy gamblers and subsequently often handle such individuals’ travel, accommodation and foreign banking or credit needs. These VIP-facing enterprises have purportedly seen their influence wane recently owing to an unrelenting crack-down by China on capital flight and illicit money transfers in addition to an associated attack on organized crime syndicates.