Junket checks and measures: Room for improvement

Macau’s junket licensing and regulatory measures need to be improved, says Changbin Wang, an Associate Professor at Macao Polytechnic University.

Wang made the comments as part of a panel discussion held at the MGS Entertainment Summit covering junket regulation, where he highlighted a number of due diligence and other shortfalls evident in the industry.

One of the key problems is the lack of information about key employees in Macau’s VIP rooms, said Wang.

“Right now shareholders with 5 percent capital or more, as well as directors and key employees are [required] to [undergo] a suitability check,” said Wang, adding that middle managers should be required to go through the same checks.

“First, there are a bunch of people in VIP rooms that are not regulated, such as middle managers and others in key positions. The information about each employee is also too little.”

Wang said while shareholders and directors must fill out more detailed paperwork, other key employees are only be required to fill a very simple form – such as name and address – altogether less than one page.

The academic said the regulator also currently doesn’t carry out substantial investigations into the background of the applicant, with “real” investigations quite rare.

In order to deal with these problems, Wang suggested the regulators expand the scope of people needed to go through suitability checks, carry out more comprehensive investigations, seek support from other jurisdictions, and establish a team with better knowledge and skills in investigation.

The academic also discussed briefly the rising popularity of side betting in VIP rooms, but said it is a hard problem to identify and solve due to the private nature of VIP rooms.

“Side betting in Macau is very popular, perhaps because gaming tax is too high.”

 “The third party hosting side betting pays zero tax, which allows it to pay more commissions to customer representatives,” he said.