Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Macau: Alvin Chau to Face Trial This September, Says Report

Suncity’s former CEO, Alvin Chau, is set to appear in court this autumn along with other suspects, a new report reveals.

Former Suncity Boss to Go to Trial This Autumn

Allegations against Chau include cross-border gambling, claiming that he organized a network that allowed rich China residents to gamble in Macau, the world’s richest gambling market. Considering that cross-border gambling is illegal in China, Chau was arrested along with other suspects last year in November.

Now, a new report released by TDM Radio Macau reveals that Chau’s trial is planned for this autumn. The court date set for Chau to appear along with 20 other suspects is September 2. He along with the other suspects is facing charges for alleged money laundering and illegal gambling.

The sums which are claimed to be involved in the massive illegal operation are more than HK$800 billion ($101.9 billion). If Chau or one of the other suspects are found guilty of illegal gambling, they may be facing a prison sentence between 8 to 15 years.

The Crackdown on Junkets Started Last Year

For decades, Suncity, along with other VIP junkets have organized and managed private gaming trips for wealthy China citizens. Thanks to those trips, VIP gambling rooms were kept busy, while at the same time, junkets split the gaming revenue with the casinos. The activity proved to be incredibly profitable for both junket operators and casinos, which resulted in many leading gaming companies joining forces with junkets.

But Chau’s arrest last year started a process that ultimately impacted all junket operators. Without any doubt, the arrest of Suncity’s CEO ignited the fallout of all junkets in the region. The crackdown on junkets in Macau and China pushed leading operators such as Melco Resorts and Wynn Macau to sever all ties with junkets last year in December. In January this year, Las Vegas Sands also decided to forego junkets. 

While all operators felt the impact after severing ties with junkets, some remained optimistic about the situation. A few months ago, MGM China revealed that cutting the middleman out of business may bring benefits. The company said that with junkets out of the way, a unique opportunity is created to transition former junket customers to VIPs.

Lawmakers Discuss Regulation of Junkets

The crackdown on junkets has started, but this doesn’t mean that the activity will be completely eradicated. Instead, lawmakers in Macau are currently working on a bill that seeks to regulate the activity. Back in April, the proposal passed its first reading. Even so, discussions are still ongoing, as lawmakers last month raised concerns regarding the bill, which proposes government officials be able to request documents related to junkets. With that in mind, under the new proposal, operators that refuse to share such details with government agencies may face a penalty, including imprisonment.

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