Despite recently recording an over 19% increase year-on-year in annual aggregated gross gaming revenues to in excess of $33 billion, it reportedly seems that the 40 casinos in Macau hit this improved figure by relying on fewer licensed junket operators.

According to a report from GGRAsia citing official information from the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau regulator, the number of junket operators licensed in the former Portuguese enclave for January dropped from 126 a year ago to now stand at 109, which encompasses both companies and one-person enterprises.

Junket operators work in partnership with casinos in order to attract high-value gamblers and GGRAsia reported that the most recent 13.5% decrease in the number of one-year licenses represents the fifth such annual decline as Macau began 2013 with some 235 such concerns.

Although the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau reportedly did not provide any explanation for the diminution in annual junket operator licenses, GGRAsia speculated that this deterioration could be due to tougher rules implemented by the regulator from 2015.

GGRAsia additionally cited Paulo Martins Chan, Director for the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, as revealing that even more stringent regulations governing junket operators could soon enter the legislative process. Under coming proposed legislation, licensed firms would be subject to higher capital deposit limits while the suitability of their financial strength and shareholder structure would moreover be investigated.