New gaming operations draft bill permits foreigners to be junket collaborators

Non-Macau residents can work as collaborators of casino junkets. (Allin photo)

Non-Macau residents can work as collaborators of casino junkets provided that they meet the relevant requirements and obtain the approval of the head of the city’s gaming watchdog, according to the draft bill on the regulatory system on gaming operations.

This is a change of stance from a previous provision in the draft amendment to Macau’s gaming law, which states that collaborators of casino junkets should be Macau citizens in order to facilitate supervision of the sector.

Legislator Chan Chak Mo, who is chairing a committee tasked with deliberations of both the draft bill on gaming operations and the draft amendment to the gaming law, told reporters on Tuesday (3 May) after a committee meeting that the change reflected the government’s consideration of language barriers when soliciting foreign patrons. He explained that by allowing casino junkets to collaborate with non-Macau residents, it would be easier to recruit foreign visitors.

These collaborators are permitted to work with more than one gaming junket at the same time but cannot extend credit to patrons.

Under the draft bill, before 30 November of each year the Gaming Supervision and Coordination Bureau will stipulate the maximum number of casino junkets that each gaming operator can work with in the following year. The number of collaborators will also be capped each year.

According to Chan, members of the committee discussing the draft bill were also concerned with the proposed crime of “illegal taking of deposits”, and would ask the government to clarify its definition.

The main doubt centres on the question whether deposits will be considered illegal if they are interest-bearing, or if they are players’ winnings lodged with the junkets.