Macau’s increased controls redirect clientele to other destinations

Northern Marianas, Vietnam and South Korea are capitalising the exodus.

After the government increased control and regulations, promoters are directing high rollers to casinos in Southeast Asia and other tropical destinations.

Macau.- Increased controls by Macau government have resulted in promoters redirecting high rollers to casinos in Southeast Asia and other tropical destinations.

Junkets operators received another blow this month when the Macau government banned proxy betting, as tightened regulations called for stricter accounting transparency. Macau’s US$30 billion gambling industry has seen revenue declines for nearly two years amid China’s slowing economy and anti-corruption campaign.

Imperial Pacific International Holdings Ltd. announced an investment of US$7.1 billion through 2020 to expand its casino presence on the island of Saipan in the western Pacific Ocean and will launch a casino in the same location on 2017. According to Andy Choy, Melco International Development Ltd. chief gaming officer said the company is exploring a casino business in Vietnam.

“Junkets are diversifying from Macau,” explained Shen Yan, Hong Kong-based Imperial’s president of global capital markets. “The junket business in Macau has been really difficult because of the shrinking margin. It’s natural for these people to go abroad and take their customers to locations where clients want to go to and junkets can make money.”

Junkets are looking elsewhere for destinations with stable governments and favourable tax structures and policies for gaming. Imperial Pacific’s temporary casino on Saipan, which opened last November, has delivered better-than-expected revenue, added to Yan. A junket law has been approved on the island earlier this year, and he expects gaming promoters will bring more big gamblers to the tropical island.