Macau halves licensed gaming junkets to 18 as regulatory controls tighten

Industry

The number of licensed gaming junkets in Macau has seen a significant reduction, dwindling to just 18, as reported by the city’s gaming regulatory body.

The annual licenses for junket operators, which expire by December 31, require renewal requests to be submitted to the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ).

Despite 36 junket operator licenses being granted for the year 2023, the current year has witnessed a drastic reduction to only 18 authorized junket operators. This marks a substantial decline from the over 100 licensed companies pre-pandemic and the more than 200 junkets during the sector’s peak a decade ago, according to a report by Macau Business.

In September 2023, Macau’s gaming regulatory authorities set a limit of 50 on the maximum number of licensed junkets that casino operators can engage with for 2024. Among the casino operators, Sands China and SJM Holdings secured the highest number of high-roller promoters, each permitted to collaborate with up to 12 junkets in 2024.  

MGM China Holdings and Melco Resorts & Entertainment closely follow with eight partnerships each for the year. Galaxy Entertainment Group and Wynn Macau have been granted the opportunity to cooperate with five licensed junket companies.

The recent reduction in the number of licensed junkets aligns with new legislation granting the government increased control over the local junket sector. This legislation includes provisions such as capping the commission rate for VIP junkets at 1.25 percent of rolling chip turnover.

Additionally, junket operators are now obligated to pay a monthly 5 percent tax on their commissions. The legislation also prohibits junket operators from sharing any form of casino revenue with the gaming concessionaires they collaborate with.

In tandem with these changes, the draft bill of the Gaming Credit Law is undergoing review at the legislative assembly, reflecting notable revisions. The government’s current proposal restricts gaming credit issuing entities to gaming concessionaires only, with licensed gaming promoters no longer permitted to extend credit.

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