Macau’s casino industry has been in decline for the last 24 months due to the significant decline of VIP gamblers who have preferred not to visit Macau due to the anti-corruption crackdown launched by Beijing. Junket operators in Macau were responsible for bringing in these VIP gamblers who contributed more than 60 percent of Macau’s gross gaming revenue.
The lack of VIP gamblers has not only hurt the revenue of Macau’s casino operators but has severely impacted these junket operators, who have also had to deal with a number of other issues including the slowing down of China’s economy and a struggle to recover outstanding loans from VIP customers.
A new group called the Macau Gaming Information Association (MGIA) has been formed to address some of the growing challenges that junket operators face. MGIA has decided to launch a new app that will provide junket operators up to date information as to what is happening in Macau’s casinos. The app will focus on protecting junket operators, their employees and the investors who pour cash into these junkets. Unlike other apps which can be downloaded directly online, those who want to download this new app will have to apply in writing and then wait for their application to be approved.
In a statement to GGRAsia, Tony Tong, vice chairman of MGIA said that the new app would “positively promote Macau’s gaming industry, as well as promote and maintain the rights of the gaming investors and gaming operators and their staff’s legal rights.”
Another group called the Macau Junket Operators Association (MJOA) also exists and has similar interests in protecting junket operators in Macau. One of the reasons why Macau’s junket segment is getting more attention is because the junket segment is shrinking at a rapid pace. In January 2015, Macau had a total of 183 junket operators but within the course of 12 months, the number had dropped by 23 percent to just 141 junket operators in January 2016.
Paulo Martins Chan, the director of Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ), had earlier announced that Macau’s gaming regulators were going to impose strict regulations to monitor the junket industry to ensure that junket operators fully comply with Macau’s rules. A few weeks back, Chan announced that the gaming regulator had decided to not renew the gaming licenses of 35 junket operators as they did not provide sufficient information based on the new accounting guidelines.
The MGIA association and its new app will provide junket operators with as much information as possible to help junkets fully understand and comply with these new regulations.