Macau: Legislative Assembly to vote on junket bill on December 15

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The Legislative Assembly in Macau is anticipated to be presented with the new junket bill on December 15 for a final vote, following the committee concluding the debate on the terms on December 9.

The bill named, “Legal Framework for Operating Games of Chance in Casinos”, lays out the guidelines for the operation of junkets, management firms, and agents, including the restriction that each of these entities can only operate with one concessionaire.

Additionally, it specifies a three-year transitioning period for Macau’s current satellite casinos, following which only one concessionaire may act as a management company for the use of services offered by satellite casino operators.

However, according to Committee chairman Chan Chak Mo, he does not anticipate that current satellite operators would switch to a management company model anytime soon.

Chak said, “Because of the three-year transitional period for satellite casinos, I believe that there will be no management companies for the time being only after three years.”

The new bill requires junkets and agents to open accounts with the gaming concessionaires where they can deposit money for gaming. The agent or junket, however, must be the legal owner of the cash.

The opening of individual accounts by gaming concessionaires for player deposits of money and chips will be permitted, but all transactions must be recorded and adhered to anti-money laundering regulations.

The current 46 junkets should be able to keep their licenses after the new gaming concessions go into effect on January 1 as long as they sign a contract with a concessionaire.

Previously, individuals could register as junkets, but now licenses to act as junkets are only available to businesses. A minimum MOP 10 million ($1.24 million) in share capital will be required by the companies.

Depending on its objectives for the growth of the gaming industry, the government will choose whether or not it wishes to change the total number of junket operators in Macau beyond 2024.