Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination has released its list of licensed junkets for 2023, with the number of junkets falling to 36 – down from 46 a year ago.
The 36 licensed junkets are those that completed their renewal applications last year and most were already operational throughout 2022, including the likes of Haishen Group, Hoi Seng and Novo Clube VIP Legend.
However, notably absent from the list are the likes of once industry leading junket Suncity Group following the arrest of its former CEO Alvin Chau in late 2021 and Tak Chun Group after its CEO Levo Chan was arrested in January 2022. Both were charged with illegal gambling and being part of a criminal syndicate and both have recently faced trial in Macau’s courts.
The number of licensed junkets had already been in decline even prior to those events, falling from a high of 235 in 2013 to around 100 in 2019, 85 in 2021 and to 46 last year.
The remaining 36 junkets as of 2023 will now be required to sign a contract with one of Macau’s six concessionaires. According to the city’s new junket law, each junket is only permitted to work with one concessionaire and cannot share in the revenue of the casino, instead eligible to receive a maximum of 1.25% commission from rolling chip turnover. Concessionaires are, however, permitted to partner with multiple junkets.
Guarantees to be provided by junkets, their agents and management companies in order to be licensed under the law are MOP$1.5 million, MOP$500,000 and MOP$1.5 million respectively. The registered capital of gaming intermediary companies must be at least MOP$10 million.
Speaking with IAG, junket operator Kwok Chi Chung – who has obtained one of the new licenses, acknowledged the new guidelines would inevitably make junkets less profitable than in the past but said there was still space to exist.
“Hong Kong will be a main market for junkets in the future as they will be more cautious with mainland visitors,” Kwok said.
“But I think that the registered capital of MOP$10 million plus the guarantee of MOP$1.5 million is undoubtedly an increase in pressure on operations.”
He also suggested 36 junkets is an appropriate number to facilitate healthy competition.
“On average, each concessionaire can sign contracts with six junkets, which is a reasonable number,” he said, “although the junkets still don’t know whether the concessionaires will cooperate with them, and they don’t know how many junkets the concessionaires will sign contracts with. Now it depends on the government’s requirements.”