There have always been suspicions that many casinos from around the world have close links with the underworld. A recent report published in a scientific journal by researchers from the University of Hong Kong confirms this in the case of Macau’s gaming industry.
Published in the British Journal of Criminology, the report titled ‘Triad Organized Crime in Macau Casinos: Extra-Legal Governance and Entrepreneurship’ states that Chinese triads are known have close links with junket operations in Macau.
The analysts from the University of Hong Kong who prepared the report were sociologist T. Wing Lo and Department of Applied Social Sciences researcher Sharon Ingrid Kwok who prepared their report based on extensive interviews done between 2012 and 2015 with key parties including VIP operators, triad members, mainland officials and the authorities. The researchers also visited VIP rooms to have a firsthand experience of the environment in
The study has summarised that triads play a big role in junket operations and that although the slowdown in the market might have reduced their involvement, their presence still exists.
The gambling revenue in Macau has witnessed a steep decline during the past two years due to the fact that VIP gamblers from Mainland China have preferred to stay away from Macau due to the anti-corruption crackdown launched by Beijing.
In a statement, Wing Lo and Sharon Ingrid Kwok said,
The VIP-room operations are still dominated by triads to date. But they have readjusted their traditional intrusive role and reinvented harmonious business strategies to suit the market reality.
The report claims that a vast percentage of the triad earnings are from VIP gambling occurring in casinos across Macau.
Junkets and VIP rooms have been inextricably linked in Macau. Junkets have been the main reason for VIP rooms flourishing in Macau. Despite the shift in the strategy of casinos towards mass-market tourists, VIP gambling and junkets operators continue to contribute to Macau’s casinos revenues as well as casinos in a number of other countries.
A report published by Macau Gaming Watch titled ‘Wynn Macau Junkets & VIP Operators’ revealed that even after the anti-corruption crackdown was launched, 56 percent of Wynn Macau’s revenue in 2014 was generated from VIP gambling. The company has however said that it has a large internal junket operation, with around 215 employees located across six international offices engaged in bringing in affluent customers to its facilities.
Links with underworld has been consistently been denied by casinos. According to a recent local media report, Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau also denied knowledge of any relationship between triads, junkets and casinos. The recently published report however states that casinos have often sought powerful triad members to become managers of VIP junkets.