Junket operators are no longer welcome at Melco Resorts and Wynn Macau properties. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
No more VIP promotions
Two casino operators in Macau have announced that junket operations are no longer in service within the Special Administrative Region (SAR). This month, Wynn Macau and Melco Resorts and Entertainment stopped offering VIP services, terminating existing agreements with Macau junkets.
junkets operate by bringing in big spenders from mainland China to play in VIP rooms
Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Co-ordination Bureau (DICJ) ordered operators to stop offering credit to players earlier this year. Junkets operate by bringing in big spenders from mainland China to play in VIP rooms at casinos in Macau, offering lines of credit to those who need it. With the regulation change, junkets can no longer make money via their primary business model.
Macau junkets begin closing
After the DICJ announcement in early December, some operators wasted no time preparing to shut down Macau junkets. Melco Resorts and Entertainment stopped junket operations at Studio City and City of Dreams on December 21.
Melco also operates Altira Macau in the Taipa district. The company announced plans to stop junket operations involving VIP play in the summer to possibly switch to premium mass marketing.
Wynn Macau Ltd. announced that Wynn Palace and Wynn Macau no longer have junket promoters in operation. A few days ago, Linda Chen, the vice-chair and CEO of Wynn Macau, stated that the firm is terminating all junket agreements by 2021’s end.
Even though the two companies have stopped junket services, there are four operators that have yet to announce any changes. It is unclear if and when Sands China, MGM China Holdings, Galaxy Entertainment Group, and SJM Holdings will halt junkets.
Junket billionaire arrested in Macau for money laundering
The junket industry has remained front and center of news reports since the arrest of Alvin Chau Cheok-Wa, a junket kingpin of Macau, in November. Chau and ten other individuals were arrested on allegations of cross-border gambling and money laundering. The arrest is the first time that police in Macau have targeted a gaming industry executive in an investigation involving money laundering activity.
An investigation by The Wenzhou Public Security Bureau claims that Chau was contracting Macau junket operators starting in 2007. He then began iGaming services in the Philippines in 2016.
Chau reportedly hired individuals from mainland China to arrange for citizens of China to gamble via his junkets located overseas. Authorities also allege that Chau’s employees organized cross-border online gambling services for citizens. The hired hands are accused of providing high limits of credit, transportation, and technical support services.