The recently concluded Macau Gaming Show 2016 brought together some of the key junket operators and executives in the industry who shared their future plans and addressed market concerns. The most important announcement came from the Association of Gaming and Entertainment Promoters (AGEP) President Kwok Chi Chung who stated that his team was in the process of setting up a centralized credit database.
The proposed centralized credit database is expected to be up and running by Jan 1, 2017 and will keep track of the gambling credit offered to VIP gamblers by junket operators in Macau. Only junket operators who are members of the AGEP will be granted access to this database. In the past, junket operators were not very willing to share any information on their VIP players as they were worried that other junket operators would lure them away.
As a result, junkets kept issuing massive amounts of credit to these VIP gamblers and a large number of them failed to pay back their loans. Kwok remains confident that this centralized database will help to streamline VIP operations and be of significant help to junket operators. The database will initially be restricted to operations in Macau but going forward the database could be connected with credit agencies outside of Macau provided all legal responsibilities can be met.
In a statement, Kwok said “We have the content of our markers [credit notes] approved by the government, whereby we’ll add a disclaimer stating that the borrower has to agree to have his or her credit history saved in our database. This database is only meant for our members’ reference. This does fit the personal data protection practice [of Macau]. The Office for Personal Data Protection has also given us many directives [on the use of such a database]. We’ve had discussion with legal counsel on it [the database], and that the operation procedure and whole system does abide by local law.”
Charlie Choi Kei Ian, the president of the Macau Gaming Information Association, a junket trade group, stated that the VIP gambling market in Macau was finally showing signs of stabilization and was still responsible for generating over fifty percent of gross gaming revenue in the region. Choi backed the government’s push to be more stringent on junket operators by conducting background checks and reviewing their credit and financial data.
U Io Hung, the chairman of the Macau VIP club ‘CCUE’ which operates at the Venetian Macau and the Altira Macau spoke at the AGEP and made reference to the Crown Resort arrests cautioning operators to not promote overseas gambling in China and face ramifications like Crown. U stated that Crown used very aggressive marketing tactics in the region and as a result the authorities focused on them. He went on to say that gambling operators had to use stealth marketing and instead of promoting gambling operators, should focus on offering travel and entertainment related services to their overseas resorts without highlighting any gambling offerings.