The Casino Regulatory Authority of Singapore (CRA) has awarded the first batch of junket licenses to two Malaysian operators on Thursday.
The operators Huang Yu Kiung and Low Chong Aun have an international client base and were issued the junket licenses after having their backgrounds checked by CRA for more than a year, reported Channel NewsAsia (CNA).
CNA added that the duo are endorsed by Resorts World Sentosa and their licenses are valid for one year.
CRA said that 12 applications were rejected and they are currently evaluating a few other applications and is in the midst of conducting probity checks for these applications.
Junket operators are essentially agents who organise trips for foreign VIP high rollers to play at the casino in exchange for a commission. They may also extend credit to their patrons.
They are also to be referred to as International Monetary Agents (IMAs) because they are only allowed to attract foreign clientele to local casinos and are not permitted to target locals.
However, since they transact large sums of money, it is important that they are highly regulated by the authorities.
Hence, they will be subjected to high levels of compliance and governance, including:
- Tight checks to keep out criminal influence
- Robust regulatory regime and strong safeguards
- Ongoing enforcement and monitoring
- Stiff penalties if in breach of conditions
In addition, if the IMAs are found to have discrepancies in their financial reporting or credit assessment, the authorities will have the powers to suspend them at any time.
Explained Lau Peet Meng, chief executive of CRA: "CRA has put in place a tight regulatory regime for the IMAs, and we have every intent to exercise our own powers to ensure the casino operators and IMAs comply fully with our regulatory requirements."
As IMAs are new to Singapore, CRA has taken a conservative approach in evaluating the applications received. Each licence application was subjected to extensive and robust probity checks to determine the applicant(s)'s suitability to operate in Singapore. This includes examining financial soundness, sources of funds, as well as suitability of employees and associates.