Macau casinos could now be held liable for partner junket debts
In a potentially landmark decision and a Macau appeals court has reportedly ruled that the enclave’s six casino operators can now be held liable must any of their companion junket firms go bust just before paying back VIP patrons.
According to a report from Inside Asian Gaming, the judgement from the Court of Final Appeal echoed a Court of Second Instance verdict from 2018 that located casino operator Wynn Macau Limited and junket promoter Dore Entertainment Firm Limited jointly responsible for a $770,000 debt owed to a high-worth punter. The supply detailed that this case could have massive ramifications for the former Portuguese enclave’s gambling industry by creating concessionaires accountable for any liabilities run up by their partner junket firms.
Macau is residence to around 85 licensed junket firms that reportedly acquire a commission for advertising companion casinos to wealthy gamblers. These VIP-facing enterprises additionally purportedly typically manage such individuals’ travel, accommodation and foreign banking or credit wants for amounts that can run into the millions of dollars.
Inside Asian Gaming reported this legal case was sparked by the 2015 theft of around $90 million from a safe situated inside a VIP lounge run by Dore Entertainment Firm Limited inside the 1,000-area Wynn Macau development, which is operated by Hong Kong-listed Wynn Macau Limited. This unexpected robbery purportedly prompted a VIP player who claimed to have deposited $770,000 to seek the return of his stolen cash.
Although Macau’s Court of Initial Instance initially pronounced that Dore Entertainment Organization Restricted was solely liable for the stolen funds, a subsequent ruling from the Court of Second Instance reportedly overturned that choice to make Wynn Macau Limited, which is a subsidiary of American casino operator Wynn Resorts Limited, jointly responsible for returning the money. This verdict has now purportedly been upheld by the ultimate Court of Final Appeal with the body pronouncing that present legislation does not exclude ‘non-contractual joint liability towards third parties of the concessionaire’.
Reportedly study a section of the judgement…
“It appears clear and evident that gaming promoters will have to be incorporated among the contracted entities for the development of the activities that comprise the concession, therefore becoming equally evident that this is a legal public relationship that characterizes the concessionaire’s subjection to a public law regime.”
In an write-up published in Gaming Law Assessment in March, a former senior advisor to Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, Antonio Lobo Vilela, reportedly warned that the pending choice from the Court of Final Appeal could ‘reshape forever the partnership between casino operators and gaming promoters’ and develop a situation exactly where ‘the latent monetary risks could at some point outweigh the perceived profitability of the VIP gaming’.