Future junkets in Macau will be subject to stricter licensing and probity requirements and operational flexibility, including only being able to do business with one gaming operator.
These rules fall under a new bill advanced by the Macau SAR Executive Council on March 31, aimed at regulating junket operators, their sub-agents and managing entities, and how they cooperate with gaming concessionaires.
The new bill is named “regulations for operating games of chance in casinos”, and replaces regulations governing the activity of gaming promoters, or junkets from 2002. Local authorities state that the laws are intended to work in tandem with the current amendments to the gaming law which is currently under review by the Legislative Assembly.
According to a report from Macau Business, the full law proposal was published by the legislative body on Wednesday.
Under the new rules, the gaming promoter will be required to be a limited liability company based in Macau SAR with over 50 percent of its capital held by a Macau resident over 21 years of age.
When applying for a license, the junket operator will also need to indicate which gaming concessionaire it intends to cooperate with in the future, as they will only be allowed to work with one. This rule has also been applied to management companies responsible for ‘satellite casinos.
However, Gaming operators can have multiple cooperative relationships with licensed junkets, with the maximum number allowed defined each year.
Junkets vying for a license will also not be allowed to have any gambling-related outstanding debts and prove they have the adequate financial capacity, and their stakeholders, administrators, employees, and sub-agents will be required to prove their ‘suitability’, including character and reputation evaluations, and being free of debt.
Prospective junkets will be required to provide a deposit to the DICJ, covering costs on suitability checks, fulfillment of legal actions, or the payments of fines or sanctions from their activity.
For the first time, junket sub-agents will also be required to be licensed in order to work with the junket, with a maximum number of sub-agents allowed to be determined annually.
These sub-agents have been historically used by junkets to introduce players, but previously were not required to be licensed.
Similar to junkets themselves, the sub-agents are required to be Macau residents aged over 21 years of age and undergo suitability checks.
The new rules also prohibit junkets from sharing income from casino activities with the concessionaire, exploiting a gaming area in exclusivity, and any cooperation with third parties via gaming revenue commission agreements.
Junkets are not to accept deposits from players or cooperate with any third parties not authorities by the gaming regulator.
There will also be limits on the commissions received by a gaming promoter, which will be defined by the Secretary for Economy and Finance.
The bill will also place the onus of compliance on the concessionaire – as they could be held responsible for illegal acts carried out by the junkets and their sub-agents.