What is a Casino Junket
What is a Casino Junket
There seems to be a lot of mystery to the world of high class casino gambling, not a lifestyle that the majority of us ever get to sneak a peek into. Especially the casino junket operations which target groups of high net-worth clients. It is this specific category of casino patrons that represent the highest source of revenue for casinos; a report from Macau (the world’s number one market for casino gambling, the region’s economy heavily dependent on casino tourism) claims that the vast majority (up to 70%) of all casino revenues come from the VIP rooms and not from regular patrons. The cumulated revenue of the world’s biggest casinos is estimated to be approximately $55 billion in United States Dollars according to Bloomberg. The junket industry is largest in Asia Pacific and the United States but, for tax reasons, less so in Europe. Although some Eastern European countries offer popular destinations, such as casino trips to Malta. The most popular locations for casino junkets are: China; Hong Kong; Chinese Taipei; Japan; Thailand; India; Australia; New Zealand; and the United States.
Casino junkets are organised trips ‘on the house’ marketed as a tourist package which can often include travel expenses, food and drinks, hotel stay, and other luxuries during the trip. This is in return for a deposit which guarantees the players are there strictly to play. Though different hosts may differ in rules and requirements, usually the guarantee involves a specified minimum period of time that the client must play each day as well as a minimum amount of money that they must wager. During the group’s visit, they as highrollers will receive special treatment and privileges within the casino and have VIP tables reserved for them.
The term ‘junket’ is said to have its origins in Chinese (‘jin’ meaning ‘introducing’ and ‘ke’ meaning ‘customers’), as it was a way to introduce customers to the gaming industry and promote casino based tourism in the late 1930s when casino marketing was in development. ‘Jin ke’ has gradually evolved to become ‘junket’, but the concept as a business and marketing mechanism has not changed that much over the years.
More often than not, unless it is the junket agent that contacts them first, clients will arrange a junket by first contacting a casino junket agent who signs the group up to participate. The junket representatives are then the ones who organise the junket itself. They may be a member of the actual casino’s inhouse marketing operation or they may be operated independently and have a contract with the casino to provide incentives for the clients to play at that particular casino. The representatives and agents rely on the fees and commissions from the casinos to support their business. Legitimate junket businesses tend to be quite financially successful as they have the ability to earn huge commissions from the casinos. Representatives provide the casinos a marketing service, informing and promoting clients to the host casino. They act as not only a salesperson for the casino, but also then as a personal event host and advisor to the group of clients, organising all aspects of their trip including the booking of their suites, restaurant reservations, spa treatments and entertainment.
Due to some foul-play in regards to both dishonest junket operatives and junket patrons, a lot of casinos now require licensing and registration as well as fingerprints and criminal background checks. Though there are still some vulnerabilities in the system for money laundering, most casinos are very aware of the potential illegal and fraudulent activity and have certain regulations in place to protect the casino. Casino operators are told to report if there are any suspicious junket promoters or suspicious activity within a junket, such as redeeming chips without having gambled or questionable interactions with rival casinos. No one can really know how huge the market for money laundering and gambling related fraud is but it is estimated to be in the billions of US dollars with scammers bringing massive revenue to the casino in order to turn over a higher commission.
Author: Hayley writes for CasinoTa. Offering casino tours in Europe, USA, Canada, Asia and around the world.