New Zealand’s SkyCity Entertainment said it will cease all activities with junkets following a strategic review of its business and will instead deal with international customers directly.
Australasian operators have stepped up scrutiny of their relationships with junket operators after a probe into Crown Resorts’ operations revealed shocking lapses in due diligence, as well as money being laundered through VIP rooms in its casinos. The probe resulted in Crown being found unsuitable to operate a casino at its new property in Sydney.
In a statement to the ASX on Tuesday, under the revised operator model, Skycity will deal directly with International Business patrons after appropriate “know your customer” and customer due diligence requirements are satisfied.
The group said it will consult with regulators in both New Zealand and South Australia about its new business model.
Last month, major Australasian casino operator Star Entertainment confirmed that it is out of the junket business until further notice, but did not rule out working with junkets indefinitely.
The casino group said it would be reviewing its business model in relation to the International VIP Rebate business, and planned to step up its pitches to VIP gamblers in Asia through its offices in Singapore and Hong Kong once borders reopen.
China's efforts to stamp out cross border gambling are showing no signs of abating, with the Chinese Minister of Public Security, Zhao Kezhi, saying that the strictest measures are needed to eradicate the practice.
The world is bouncing back, or at least coming to grips with the fact that going forward not much will be the same as before. Commendably, this industry quickly understood the need to adapt to a new normal, and that the days of targeting the low hanging fruit of the VIP sector are gone.
Over the years, many of the answers have been remarkably prescient in their forecasts for the near-term direction of Asia’s gaming industry. However, we can safely say that no one came anywhere close to guessing what 2020 may have had in store.