- Macau has shut down junket companies’ ability to offer loans to tourists.
- This is a blow to the junket tourism business, with unclear effects moving forward.
- This move comes in the wake of the arrest of junket tourism magnate Alvin Chau.
MACAU - The conflict between the way in which Macau’s gambling economy is currently ordered and the way Chinese authorities wish it to be ordered in the future has begun to result in changes.
Macau, the gambling hub of Asia, has stopped offering junket tourism altogether following the arrest of junket tourism magnate Alvin Chau.
Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau have forced a stop to junket tourists being offered credit by junket companies. This is a key blow to the gameplan that junket companies operate on - recruit rich tourists, offer them gambling credit, collect on those debts with interest.
Casino operators in Macau have been silent regarding these changes, which were brought to light by Bernstein, a brokerage firm, and reported in Reuters.
VIP Rooms Closing Across Macau
Suncity, Chao’s company, closed all of its VIP rooms after his arrest. VIP rooms are the ones that are mostly used for junket tourism, or at least associated with such.
It has been reported that other casinos in the area will also begin shuttering their VIP rooms in response to the new regulation.
This is a serious defanging of the junket industry, which will now exist more as a tourism industry than as the half-loan-sharks they’ve been in the past. China’s crackdown on junket tourism seems to be related to controlling capital outflows - they don’t want millions of yuan crossing the border into Macau.
This movement to crack down on junket tourism was undertaken by the government of Macau, but the lines seem to be blurring between the two - liaisons from Beijing are currently operating as national security advisors in Macau in relation to this situation.
Only time will tell how this affects Macau’s famous status as a gambling hub, and whether or not the loss of junket tourism will be something they can bounce back from.