According to a report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Nevada gaming regulators are increasing their scrutiny over the operation of junkets at Macau casinos that are owned or controlled by U.S. gambling companies amid allegations raised by U.S. gaming union officials that junkets affect the integrity of U.S. gaming operations.
There are approximately 200 junkets operating in Macau. They typically bring wealthy gamblers from areas such as China, and rent VIP Rooms in Macau casinos for their clients to gamble. Junkets operators issue credit to their high-roller clients, and earn commissions from the funds gambled by their clients at casinos.
Mark Lipparelli, Chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, said in an interview this week that outside junket operators, which receive commissions from casinos for their work, are "becoming an area of increased attention for us."
Legalized gambling in the U.S. and Canada is premised on the preservation of the integrity of the gaming industry. In order to obtain and maintain a U.S. state gaming registration, casino operators have to operate their casinos in a way that will not negatively affect the integrity of the gaming industry as a whole. As a result, any link, however small, to criminality with a casino operator affects the integrity of the operator and the industry. The concerns with criminality arise from the fact that there is an identified money laundering risk with junket operators because, among other things, there are gaps in controls and weak supervision of their operations. Junket operators control the movement of money to and from the casinos which can obscure the anti-money laundering process. The VIP Rooms which they operate are not subject to AML reporting requirements and thus a large portion of gambling in Macau operates outside of AML oversight.