According to a report on Macau Business Daily (MBD), there has been a major increase in filings with the Court of First Instance by VIP gaming promoters seeking to recover moneys owed by well-to-do gamblers who use junket services. Macau‘s junket operators are VIP room promoters who often lend money, sometimes in a grey or black market avoiding caps on funds transfers, to high rollers from China’s mainland. They may also provide perks and incentives such as travel, accommodations, shopping escorts and companion services.
Contrary to some common beliefs, not all junket operations are run by underworld figures; some are listed on the NYSE as well as other respectable indexes like the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. And although sometimes shaming techniques or even threats or worse are used to collect moneys owed, deadbeats who don’t pay up for gambling losses can also be taken to court where disputes can be handled in a pro-social process.
In Macau, the only place in all of China that casino gambling is legal, the process begins in the Court of First Instance. The court recently reopened on September 1st after a one month recess and according to data gathered by MBD, 58 cases have been filed so far this year. The uptick in cases, going back to June 2014 seems to coincide with a decline in overall gambling revenue coming from VIP players via “rolling chips” from junket operators.
Drawing data from US-based International Union of Operating Engineers the news outlet finds that junkets have filed more than 150 actions in the last 20 months, more than the 113 total actions filed in the six previous years combined.
Total gaming revenue has fallen 15 months in a row with the Macau government announcing austerity measures with immediate effect on Tuesday last.