Macau to tighten scrutiny amid surge in VIP players
Macau regulators are signaling heightened scrutiny of gaming promoters that bring in highstakes players to casinos operated by Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Wynn Resorts Ltd. amid an increase of VIP visitors to the enclave.
MACAU REGULATORS are signaling heightened scrutiny of gaming promoters that bring in high-stakes players to casinos operated by Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Wynn Resorts Ltd. amid an increase of VIP visitors to the enclave.
The local government plans to tighten standards for junket operators beginning in January when they review applications for new and renewed licenses, according to Paulo Chan, director of the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.
The moves come as business in the world’s biggest gaming hub is booming, with VIP gamblers helping to drive a rebound that saw casino revenue climb to a three- year high in October.
“When the market gets better, more people are eager to come back and do business, but Macau regulators will be more cautious during the junket approval process,” Chan said at a briefing in the territory Tuesday.
Macau has an uneasy relationship with the junket businesses that bring in mostly Chinese high-stakes players.
Though the high-roller business has been girding the casino industry’s rebound, the Macau government has called for operators to increase non-gaming revenue and to expand offerings to appeal to casual gamblers and tourists.
Last year, the government announced plans to increase oversight of the junkets and raise capital requirements.
The Macau gaming regulator has conducted several reviews this year on junket promoters to examine whether they have strictly adhered to government requirements and established a sound financial accounting system, Chan said.
Macau is the only place in China that allows casinos, and tightened regulations also reflect Beijing’s drive to stanch capital outflows, some of which make their way to the territory. Across Macau this year, the government deployed automated teller machines (ATM) with facial recognition software to verify identities and help monitor transactions for those using Chinese bank cards. As a result, the ATMs have seen a decrease in the number of withdrawals and transaction value, according to an Apple Daily report this week.
The ATM rules followed a ban last year that prohibits proxy betting by telephone aimed at curbing bets from gamblers in China.
Macau has also stepped up its screening of visitors. More than 250 people have been banned from entering casinos this year due to illegal activities such as theft and improper use of phones, Chan said. • Bloomberg
MACAU regulators plan to tighten standards for junket operators.