How casino junket agents make money

Among the topics discussed during Tuesday’s Senate hearing on the $81-million money laundering scandal was how casino junket agents make money on wins and losses of gamblers.

The discussion started with an explanation on the concept of the so-called “dead chips,” which are given to high-rollers who are brought into the casino by junket agents.

Dead chips are non-negotiable chips which cannot be encashed, according to Bloomberry Resorts corporate secretary, Atty. Silverio Benny Tan.

“They are issued for the purposes of being played. In our casino (Solaire), you cannot bet cash, you can only use chips. Chips are plastic tokens issued by the casino in exchange for cash…or credit,” Tan explained. “When a person uses the dead chips to bet and wins, he is given cash chips… Those are the ones which a player can encash.”

According to Tan, the dead chips are also used for monitoring the gamblers’ play. He stressed that as mandated by PAGCOR, they have a casino management system which tracks the identities of the players and how much they play, among others.

“A high-roller goes to the casino, deposits cash, gets dead chips, sits down and plays. The casino has a casino management system which monitors the play of each player,” he said.

“Simply put, the use of dead chips is the only way for the junket agents, the operator and the owner of the casino to monitor the activity of the player, and that is where they derive also their income,” said PACGOR COO and President Eugene Manalastas.

“So for every turn the player loses, the agent gets a commission and of course the operator gets a windfall,” he added.

“So a casino junket agent makes money on both wins and losses meaning pag nanalo, may commision siya dun sa gambler, pag natalo, may commission siya dun sa casino?” asked Senator Sonny Angara.

“You’re correct,” answered Manalastas.

ANC, March 29, 2016

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