The Macau Gaming Industry Association (MGIA) – a recently launched organization representing the interests of Macau’s junket industry – has called for the government to implement a player “blacklist” to help protect junkets from borrowers defaulting on their debts.
Speaking at this week’s G2E Asia Exhibition and Conference, the MGIA believes that more needs to be done to assist Macau’s VIP business which has been by far the hardest hit by China’s corruption crackdown.
In-particular, it has proposed the creation of a special database of VIP players which can then be accessed by junkets and operators to check the borrowing history and credit status of potential clients.
“The liabilities of the gaming industry are in conflict with the current laws,” said MGIA legal Adviser Koven Hong. “A lot of the big clients are from mainland China and when we try to ask them to repay the cash it is very difficult because of the legal system in the mainland and in Macau.
“So we hope the Macau government can improve this by taking more measures and by creating a blacklist to ensure more limitations on the money borrowers. If one person borrows money from the junkets or the gaming operators and he cannot repay, we should have some sort of enforced laws to prevent him from visiting the casinos again or borrowing again.
“We need to think of more measures to get back the money that has been lent to gamblers.”
MGIA Chairman, Mr Charlie Choi, said he had already been in talks with Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) about the blacklist concept but agreed more research was required to look at issues such as who would be able to access the list and when.
Macau’s privacy laws are famously tight and any moves to loosen them in any way would no doubt be a politically divisive issue.
“If we establish the database, who will have access to the database – what will the criteria be for those who apply to access it?” he said.
“We need to have more consideration about this database from a pragmatic perspective. How can we ensure confidence from the citizens that the information in the database is safe?
“For the VIPs, not all of them will want to out their personal details in the database so we want to have a compulsory arrangement for the input data. We do need more research though on when and how someone can access the database.”
Nevertheless, Choi said the creation of a blacklist remained a vital step in ensuring the long-term sustainability of the junket industry, which has fallen from around 29 percent of Macau’s gross gaming revenue two years ago to around 14 percent today.
“For the junket operators, we think this is very important,” he said. “The MGIA has already been referring this issue to the DICJ and its implementation is very important to have better cooperation with the junket operators.”