Junket fraud allegations increase Macau woe

Junket fraud allegations increase Macau woe

Tuesday, December 1, 2015 Totally Gaming
Macau has seen yet another huge fall in casino revenues

Macau’s casino revenue fell for the 18th straight month in November, as a protest relating to the alleged theft of up to $256m (€241.6m) by a junket operator employee continues to build momentum.

Gross gaming revenue fell 32.3 per cent to $2.1bn during the month, according to data released by Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.

Gaming revenue in the world’s largest centre of gambling has fallen 35.3 per cent so far this year as the Chinese authorities’ attempts at curbing illicit money flows from the mainland have deterred the high-stakes players who rely on junket promoters for betting loans. It is believed that Chinese authorities want Macau to encourage greater focus on non-gambling initiatives, creating an Asian Las Vegas.

Analysts estimate the number of junket tables has fallen by a third since the start of 2015, and about 100 junket operators have gone out of business.

The risks associated with junkets have been highlighted by the accusation that an employee of Dore Entertainment stole money from customers. The police have said that around $64.5m is unaccounted for, although investors say the sum is four times this amount.

Those affected, including around 50 prominent members of Hong Kong's entertainment industry, according to police, have taken to protesting outside Wynn Macau's casino for two months, demanding the return of money.

Investors have accused Dore head Charles Heung Wah Keung - who was named in a 2007 Nevada Gaming Control Board hearing as a member of a triad crime gang - of shirking his responsibility, while Macau's government has responded only by saying that an investigation is ongoing.

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