Macau Government Pushes for Ban on Junkets Granting Player Credit

The Macau government is proposing a ban on licensed junkets providing casino players with loans in the local casinos. The proposal comes after the Macau Legislative Assembly issued its first approval for a new legislation on gambling loans in May.

The initial legislation, named the “legal regime of credit concession for gambling in casinos,” permitted only junkets and casino concessionaires to issue credit, provided they had an official contract with the gaming concessionaire they were associated with. However, the new proposal suggests that junkets should no longer be allowed to issue credit.

The proposal also deletes current provisions that allow gaming promoters to issue gaming credit in their name. Instead, with an agent contract reached with casino concessionaires, gaming promoters can assist in bringing clients, serve them, and earn commission for their services. The proposal has received acceptance from the members of the committee.

At present, junkets in Macau have seen a significant decrease in business compared to their peak years. VIP Baccarat, which is popular among high-net-worth gamblers, accounted for just 24.1% of Macau’s total casino gross income in the third quarter of 2023. Despite the decline in business, junkets, known as “gaming promoters” have the capacity to issue loans directly, as specified in the latest regulatory framework for the ongoing 10-year gaming concessions.

During the Committee meeting, Macau’s Secretary of Economy and Finance and the director of the city’s casino regulator also made an appearance, but did not speak with the media.

The legislation is expected to be discussed in more detail in February, with the final reading in the plenary session of the Assembly to follow. Once approved, the law could take nearly four months to be implemented, potentially taking effect in mid-2024. The aim is to provide a more comprehensive framework for managing and controlling gambling-related credit in the casino sector.