Why Casino Junkets Are Not For You
Would you care to go on an all-expenses-paid trip? Free gourmet food, lavish hotel rooms, exciting entertainment, and luxury as far as the eye can see. It’s quite the lifestyle, wouldn’t you say?
These types of kickbacks are what’s on offer for high rolling casino VIPs in an effort to lure them into the casino to play and gamble the big bucks. Benefits like this, however, are not in the cards for most of us — even for diehard gamblers and casino regulars.
What is a Casino Junket?
The term “junket” has several different meanings and most often is referred to when talking about political junkets and casino junkets. Political junkets are expensive trips given to politicians and dignitaries. They’re often lavish and paid for by taxpayers.
In the same vein, casino junkets are trips and travel incentives offered to high-roller or VIP customers in order to get them to play at a certain casino. These trips are also extremely lavish and often offer all-expenses-paid trips to exotic locations.
Junket operators usually receive a commission in either cash or other non-monetary reward from the casino for bringing in these types of players. In the early days of casinos when they were highly stigmatized, headhunters would scout these high rollers and offer them these amazing packages.
As much as we’d all like to think we’re high rollers, the average player typically would be passed over in favor of the players who had the capital to play for hours and to risk it big with larger bets. Players who were offered Junkets would often be at the tables day in and day out before they caught the eye of a headhunter.
You don’t have to play at a land-based casino to get the VIP treatment, however. High-roller players and VIPs also get spoiled online when playing at online casinos. The players who deposit the largest sums are considered VIPs and will be then considered for all kinds of rewards, usually through a tiered VIP system.
These online VIPs are just as sought after as traditional casinos. The difference is the way they’re treated. In-person luxury is lovely, but it’s hard to push it through a computer screen. Instead online casinos will offer cashback deals or other virtual incentives to keep these “whales playing in their casino.
Modern Day Junkets
Junkets are still around today but instead of headhunters eyeing players down on the floor, this type of luxury is actually for sale. There are agencies and websites that offer all-expenses-paid trips to gamble, but you have to place a deposit first, and it’s often a very large deposit.
There are also minimum gambling times and wagers designed for these types of trips. It’s more of an all-inclusive vacation that offers the possibility of winning your money back.
Casino Junkets in the News
Casino junkets have not cultivated the most stellar of reputations in the international spotlight, either historically or in recent times. While an important marketing tactic for casino operators to catch the big “whale” players, they have often been infiltrated by criminal organizations… and worse.
One of the most famous casino junket destinations has recently made the news for one of its largest operators arrested for “establishing overseas gambling platforms and carrying out illegal virtual betting activities.”
This basically means the largest junket operator in Macau was arrested for simply running a junket. It’s another blow to Macau’s tourism as China cracks down on gambling and its link to money laundering in the region.
Australian officials are also looking at junkets more closely after a risk assessment last year. Junkets can easily be infiltrated by criminal organizations to launder money through casinos and casino accounts.
This potential risk opens up the door for increased scrutiny due to the fact that junket operators loan the players money, and offer up a secondary channel in which money can be easily exchanged and laundered through the casino systems.
The financial crime watchdog Austrac has not only uncovered instances of money laundering in Australian casino junkets, but it’s also discovered tax evasion, visa misuse, links to foreign spies, and rampant corruption.
Junkets Are a Mixed Bag
As you can see, the world of casino junkets can be quite interesting to say the least. While luxury trips, expensive gifts, and free food may sound enticing, there is definitely a darker side to casino junkets that you should be aware of.
Most leisure casino gamblers may think they have what it takes to score a junket, but in order to get on the radar of top casinos, you really have to be a high roller with huge sums of money to drop on the casino floor. So, unless you have millions to spend, casino junkets probably are not for you.