Macau casinos may have to cover US$6.37bn in junket debts

The debt comes from Suncity Group and Tak Chun.
The debt comes from Suncity Group and Tak Chun.

Macau casino operators could have to cover HKD50m (US$6.37bn) of a total HKD100bn of unsatisfied liabilities and uncollected debts left after Suncity Group and Tak Chun were shut down.

Macau.- The clampdown on junket operators in Macau has spawned another potential blow for casinos. Credit Suisse (Hong Kong) has revealed that Macau casino operators could be jointly liable for up to HKD50m (US$6.37bn) in outstanding liabilities and uncollected debts following the sudden closure of Suncity Group and Tak Jun‘s junket operations.

Its estimate of the operator’s liability is based on a 50 per cent cut of a possible HKD100bn total industry-wide liability. The lower figure is because some agents were unable to travel to Macau to recover funds, possibly due to lack of documentation, and some recovered money over the past two years. Credit Suisse said it believes the Macau government was able to recover a small amount of cash before junket-operator cooperations ended.

Suncity and Tak Chun’s activities were suspended after the arrests of Levo Chan Weng Lin and Alvin Chau. Credit Suisse said the two Junket operators together held about 72 per cent of Macau’s VIP market.

Analysts Kenneth Fong, Lok Kan Chan, and Sardonna Fong, said: “Their operations shut down abruptly, leaving behind a lot of uncollected debt and unfulfilled liability. As the junket business is closed, naturally, those who owe money – junket account receivables – to the junket will not repay their debt, leaving behind a massive account payable due to the agents.”

Credit Suisse divided the six Macau operators by potential liability. It said Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd could be liable for HKD13.2bn, Melco Resorts Entertainment HKD8.5bn, MGM China HKD4.7bn, Sands China HKD5.8bn, SJM Holdings Limited HKD6.8bn and Wynn Macau HKD11bn.

It added that SJM had settled its entire liabilities with Macau Golden Group, which had a 5 per cent to 6 per cent share of the VIP market in Macau prior to the group’s closure. 

See also: Macau Golden Group terminates VIP gaming operations

Last November, Wynn Macau Ltd. was found jointly responsible for a HK$6m debt to a VIP player while in February MGM China Holdings faced a similar decision.

Macau VIP gaming promoter bill passes first reading

Macau’s Legislative Assembly has approved the first reading of the new bill on junket businesses and satellite casinos. Some 30 MPs voted in favour while one voted against the bill.

Some of the legislators who spoke at the debate questioned the viability of satellite casinos continuing to operate under the proposed framework. They raised concerns that local employment could be affected as a result.

According to a press release from the executive committee, the bill aims to improve oversight of the industry. It would allow junket operators to each work with only one casino operator. Individuals will no longer be licensed as intermediaries; only companies.

In this article:
Macau casinos Suncity Group