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The number of licensed junket operators has been halved for 2024 

An announcement on Monday by Macao’s gaming regulator comes as a further blow to an industry already facing pressure from scandals and tighter government regulations.

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The number of licensed junket operators in the SAR has been slashed in half – from 36 in 2023 to only 18 this year, according to data published by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) on Monday. 

Some of the licensed junkets on the list include United Promotor de Jogo, Sheng Feng and Millennium Investimento Internacional. Among those present in 2023, but absent from this year’s list are Le Ciel Sociedade Unipessoal Limitada and Clube de Vip Fu Loi. 

The number of licensed gaming promoters, as the junket operators are officially known, now pales in comparison to the figures recorded in January 2013, which saw an all-time high of 235 such enterprises. The latest number represents the eleventh consecutive annual reduction in the number of junket operators. 

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The DICJ’s announcement did not specify the reason behind the cuts, but the government has been putting the sector under increasing regulation and scrutiny. It has also imposed a limit on the number of junkets that each of Macao’s six concessionaires can collaborate with. 

Recent years have seen the sector beset with scandal, such as the fall of “junket king” Alvin Chau, who was given an 18 year sentence in January 2023 for financial wrongdoing, and the declaration of former Macao junket operator, Ji Xiaobo, as a criminal kingpin by a Chinese court. 

The director of one licensed junket operator told specialist gaming media that some operators had “withdrawn from the market due to the new legal restrictions.” 

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