Mid-term review positive for operators

The Macau government released its long awaited casino industry mid-term review on Wednesday.

The 254 page document, available in Chinese and Portuguese was the result of a year-long review of the impact on the gaming industry in the gaming hub.

The review focused on four sections, including economy, society / local, operations and contract fulfilment of operators and the junket industry.

In relation to the junket sector, Paulo Martins Chan, during the press conference confirmed the DICJ was looking into the possibility of setting up a database of people that owe overdue debts related to credit issued for gambling. “we consider this [a database] is viable,” said Chan.

The english extract of the mid-term review, called for further regulation in the junket sector.

“Despite the positive role of junket promoters in the development process of the gaming industry, there are still bound to be problematic areas which need stronger regulatory effort in order to enable a healthy and orderly development of the industry.”

In a note from Union Gaming, the brokerage said most of the points made during the press conference regarding the junket VIP industry was not new. However, most interesting was commentary in the report that called for increased staffing at DICJ, which could pose as a risk for the junket VIP segment.

The “higher level of staffing could allow the DICJ to do more field work, which could include investigations into proxy betting and under-the-table betting. This represents incremental risk for the junket VIP segment,” said Union Gaming.

Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lionel Leong also pointed out that the report “has nothing to do with the gaming concession renewal,” rather it focused on efforts made by gaming operators to add non-gaming elements to their offerings.

In the past we only looked at gaming revenue,” said Leong during the press conference, “We cannot only depend on a small number of customers [VIP players] to generate most of the revenue. We need to have new clients,” he added.

Macau casino operator Sands China Ltd. was quick to respond to the gaming interim review announcement, affirming that they are “committed to contributing to the development of Macau into a world centre of tourism and leisure and to contributing to the successful diversification of Macau.”

Other areas of the review covered compliance and anti-money laundering, and found that “the number of non-compliance cases in the six gaming operators [has] shown a downward trend.

The tone of the report was largely positive towards the gaming industry, said Union Gaming. The report “indicates that the operators have fulfilled their contract requirements and have made positive contributions to the community,” said the brokerage.

“The tone of the report, in our view, is generally positive towards the gaming operators and indicates that the operators have fulfilled their contract requirements and have made positive contributions to the community, partially offset by certain unavoidable elements like increased inflation, and upward pressures on housing prices.”