Junkets Pledge Greater Oversight

The Macau government may help the city’s junket operators get a public makeover. Officials will soon meet the junket runners to discuss better accounting standards. The move comes in the aftermath of a multimillion-dollar theft at Dore’s VIP rooms.

Government promises transparency

The head of a Macau junket association tells the Macau Business Daily he and other junket runners will meet with the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, or DICJ, to discuss better financial reporting.

Kwok Chi Chung, president of the Association of Gaming and Entertainment Promoters of Macau, said “the main issue is about how the junket industry can do better in their accounting practices for the companies’ operation. This talk is part of the government’s intended introduction of a set of internal guidelines aimed at monitoring the junkets here, as well as to raise the transparency of the disclosure of these junkets’ shareholders and staff.

Last month, Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong Vai Tac said the government would take a greater role in ensuring that the VIP gaming promoters are stringent in their practices and transparent in their operations. The declaration came after an alleged multimillion-dollar theft from junket operator Dore Entertainment Co. Ltd. at Wynn Macau. In that case, says Dore, former cage manager Mimi Chow “allegedly used her power to conduct unauthorized actions without the company’s knowledge.” Most news reports cited losses of about HKD330 million (US$42.6 million). Others suggest the losses may amount to more than $250 million.

“The reason for this accounting rule, as well as the internal guidelines, is that the government is trying to help make an effort for the sector to build a better image, especially after the Dore incident,” Kwok said.

The DICJ says credit providers must be “duly constituted and authorized” in order to accept deposits and other funds from the public. “Illegally accepting deposits is a criminal activity,” the bureau warned.

The regulator could tighten its oversight of lower-level junket staff and publish more information about the junkets, including the names of administrators, shareholders, key employees and collaborators. “Any shareholder or administrator that has not been subject of the suitability check by the government will not be legally recognized,” the DICJ said.