The total number of licensed gaming junkets fell from 141 in January 2016 to 126 at the start of this year, according to the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ), marking a decline of 10.6 per cent over the course of 12 months.
The licenses, which are issued on an annual basis by DICJ, are subject to the gaming inspector’s review of the entities’ financial accounts. According to DICJ director Paulo Martins Chan, the decline was partly the results of a number of junkets failing these inspections.
The decline is a continuation of the change registered in the previous year.
At the start of 2015, Macau was home to 183 licensed entities. That decreased to 141 in January 2016 and 126 at the beginning of this year. Over the past three years, the city has lost more than 90 junkets, according to official data.
The 15 junkets that closed up shop during the course of last year included both companies and individuals licensed as junkets, notes the bureau.
Analysts have weighed in with their speculation over the cause of the decline.
Generally, it is thought to be connected to the VIP gaming downturn driven by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign, which has impacted the profitability of Macau junkets.
Gaming revenues for VIP baccarat fell from its peak of MOP238.5 billion in 2013 to just under MOP119 billion at the end of the last year, according to data published by DICJ, with uninterrupted decline for the two years in between. Meanwhile, mass-market baccarat revenues remained about the same last year as they were in 2015, at around MOP76 billion.
While, junkets in Macau have been closing over the past few years, some have been eyeing the opportunity to relocate to other markets in Southeast Asia, namely the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia.