Several Macau junket operators have issued clarifications denying having either business relations or partnership with a company that on Tuesday announced at a Macau event the launch of an investor subscription for cryptocurrency. Lantai Digital Application Technology Co Ltd had, according to reports in local Chinese-language media, stated at its Tuesday event that its digital tokens could be used for transactions in Macau casinos.
The Macau VIP gambling promoters that issued rebutting statements on either Tuesday or Wednesday included Suncity Group, Tak Chun Group, Meg-Star Group, Guangdong Group and David Group. Several said they would reserve the right to take legal action against any unauthorised use by Lantai Digital Application Technology of their trade names and corporate logos for the purposes of marketing or promotion.
On Tuesday Lantai Digital Application Technology reportedly said it had cooperation with “with several renowned Macau gaming groups”, and was planning to launch the use of its cryptocurrency in casinos in Macau, the United States and Singapore.
Following clarification statements issued by several of Macau’s junket firms, Lantai Digital Application Technology issued an apology letter on Wednesday on its official website, stating that it “had never reached cooperation agreements in any form with Macau’s gaming firms [sic]”, and that its “subscription of cryptocurrency; its launch activity, trading and application” had no relation with the city’s gaming firms.
But Lantai Digital Application Technology noted in its apology statement that the trading of its cryptocurrency would continue. “We would like to express our deep apology to the affected gaming firms, and are willing to bear any losses incurred thereof,” Lantai Digital Application Technology wrote in the Wednesday statement.
A spokesperson for the Judiciary Police, Lei Hon Nei, said on Wednesday in a briefing – responding to media enquiries – that the police would investigate the matter, to see if any Macau laws had been broken, or if there had been any solicitation to engage in illegality. The Judiciary Police has so far received no complaints against the cryptocurrency issuer, Ms Lei stated.
GGRAsia approached Macau’s casino regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, regarding the matter. It referred us to statements previously made by the Monetary Authority of Macao warning that cryptocurrency was neither regulated in Macau, nor “a financial instrument subject to its supervision”.
“Regarding the recent media reports about the subscription of virtual currency conducted by a company in Macau, the Monetary Authority of Macao warns residents in general about the need to be careful about any frauds that may exist or with the possibility of being exploited for the practice of any criminal activity, since virtual currency is a ‘virtual commodity’, that is, it is neither a legal currency nor a financial instrument,” the Monetary Authority of Macao said in a statement on Wednesday night.
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"The [Macau] government has a lead in this subject in regards to what should be done after the [gaming] concessions expire. We will be first listening to what the government will say”
Ambrose So Shu Fai
Vice-chairman and chief executive at Macau casino operator SJM Holdings