PAGCOR – the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation – is enhancing its tougher stance on the way so-called junkets can run their operations and associate themselves with the country’s gambling businesses. The beginning of the week saw the Philippine gambling regulator publish a new set of guidelines in order to shed light on what retail gambling businesses are allowed to do when seeking to enter a partnership agreement with junket operators.
The new guidelines published by PAGCOR seek to reduce threats associated with so-called rogue junkets, with the criteria involving specifics regarding the backgrounds of individuals who are known as junket operators’ associates, agents or promoters of their services. Such people may not be formally accused of fraud, money appropriation, money laundering, fraud, or other financial crime but casino companies are required to make sure they stick to the required due diligence and run thorough background checks on key individuals who are involved in junket’s day-to-day and strategic operations.
Under the enhanced due diligence practices, casinos in the Philippines will be required to make more efforts to ensure that no terrorist financing and money laundering occur through their operations. Furthermore, the new guidelines unveiled by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation detail the cases where such businesses are listed as debtors that have not managed to meet the requirements for outstanding financial obligations or have gone bankrupt overseas.
Under the new guidelines, would-be junket partners would be turned down from partnering with PAGCOR and the casinos that run their services under the operating permits issued by the regulatory body.
Junket Operators Forced to Adapt to New Markets Outside Macau
As mentioned above, the new set of guidelines unveiled by PAGCOR at the beginning of the week seeks to make sure that all junket operators that are given access to local customers have open, fair and transparent businesses, so that pretty much no criminal activity is taking place on casino floors with the aid of such foreign businesses.
Junket companies have been forced to adapt to new markets and seek various expansion opportunities after hundreds of their businesses in Macau have become subject to closures. Considering the fact that local residents have been among the most gambling nations in the region, the Philippines has probably been the most logical choice for such companies to seek further expansion. The country is now planning to keep a central database of every individual who is linked to junket operations in order to establish transparent and fair services and help the regulatory body do its job in the best possible way.
Reportedly, the latest developments of the aforementioned PAGCOR guidelines also reflect the deeper strategy unveiled by Mel Georgie B. Racela – the executive director of the Philippines Anti-Money Laundering Council – who shared that the country’s gambling watchdog is considering the implementation of some guidelines that would reduce the risks posed by the junket operators in the region.
As CasinoGamesPro previously reported, so-called junkets play an important part in most gambling nations in the region of Southeast Asia, and their most recent exodus from the special administrative region of Macau. These operators are still expected to attract so-called VIP gamblers – affluent high-roller customers – to local casinos.