Part of tightened regulations

Macau limits number of junkets, gaming promoters that casino operators can collaborate with to 50

Reading time 1:41 min

Macau's Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) is limiting the number of junkets and licensed gaming promoters that casino operators will be allowed to partner with in the upcoming year, with the number capped at 50.

Sands China and SJM Holdings have been granted the highest number of high-roller promoters, with each able to partner with up to 12 gaming promoters, as published in a new list. MGM China Holdings and Melco Resorts & Entertainment follow closely behind, with eight partnerships each for the next year. Meanwhile, Galaxy Entertainment Group and Wynn Macau are limited to five partners each.

The Macau regulations see stakeholders, sub-agents, and others as collaborators to the companies that actually operate casinos. These collaborators possess many contacts and an impressive network of partners that brings powerful players to the VIP rooms of Macau casinos.

The number of collaborators is limited to 250 in the whole market, according to local media. So far, on September 15, the number of registered collaborators was seven, while one more collaborator awaits license approval, as shown in DICJ data.

The restrictions come at a time when the junket sector is experiencing notable changes. This year, only 36 companies have registered with the city’s gaming regulator to operate junket businesses, in stark contrast to over 100 licensed companies before the pandemic, or more than 200 junkets during the sector’s heyday a decade ago. However, in practice, it is believed that fewer than half of them have remained active due to concerns about profitability, as reported by Macau Business.

Under the new junket law, the government is vested with the power to control the scale of the local junket sector. The law includes provisions such as capping the commission rate for VIP junkets at 1.25% of rolling chip turnover. Additionally, junket operators are now required to pay a monthly 5% tax on their commissions.

Furthermore, the law prohibits junket operators from sharing any form of casino revenue with the gaming concessionaires they collaborate with.

While the VIP segment faces uncertainty, Macau's mass gaming and tourism sectors keep rebounding. Earlier this month, Luis Heredia, President of the Macau Hotel Association, expressed expectations that hotel occupancy rates in Macau will not only match but surpass pre-pandemic levels during the upcoming National Day Golden Week

Furthermore, in a recent report from J.P. Morgan, analysts expressed assurance that local casino resort rooms will experience full bookings once more during the upcoming National Day Golden Week, consistent with historical patterns. 

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