Macau junket firm Suncity Group said it had a “soft opening” of a new VIP gaming club (pictured) at Rio Hotel on Macau peninsula on Monday. The property is a satellite venue run by third-party investors under the gaming rights of Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd.
The new “Rio Suncity VIP Club” – on the second floor of Rio Hotel - houses a total of “four rooms” and 12 gaming tables, according to a press statement issued on Monday by Suncity Group.
The new facility takes the tally of Suncity Group clubs in the Macau market to 18, according to the announcement.
GGRAsia approached Suncity Group for information regarding how long the Rio Hotel club had been planned. A spokesperson told us it didn’t have more information to share at the stage.
Outside Macau, the group runs 14 high-roller gambling clubs, namely in the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, South Korea and Australia. In addition to these operations, Suncity Group also owns two Poker King Clubs – one in Macau and another in Manila, Philippines.
Suncity Group is said by investment analysts to be a major junket investor in Macau. The firm is estimated to have an “approximately 45 percent” share of the junket market, according to a July 9 note from brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein, although the brokerage didn’t specify in that particular memo the metric being applied.
Privately-held Suncity Group is led by Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, who also chairs the Hong Kong-listed entity Suncity Group Holdings Ltd and Summit Ascent Holdings Ltd, the latter the promoter firm of Russian casino resort Tigre de Cristal.
The Hong Kong-listed Suncity Group Holdings does not list on its balance sheet any of the Macau junket-related businesses of privately-held Suncity Group. The listed company is nonetheless an investor in a large-scale casino resort complex in Hoi An, Vietnam, where it says it also has a deal to manage the gaming. The listed entity has stated it also has a deal to manage the gaming at a casino resort in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.
Mr Chau issued on Saturday an apology to the Macau government on what he termed the “inconvenience” of adverse publicity in state-backed Chinese media, that had suggested the Suncity brand had been involved in “proxy betting” and “online gambling’ via what the media outlets referred to as an “app” that enabled Suncity brand clients to gamble online in other jurisdictions.
Mr Chau denied the brand’s Macau-licensed VIP gaming promoter Sun City Gaming Promotion Co Ltd had any involvement in such activity. He added: “For any products that are legally allowed to operate in other countries and regions, the company will not adopt them if the laws of Macau do not allow it and will strictly adhere to the law of Macau.”
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"With the mainlanders and Hong Kongers now effectively barred from entering Macau, the only rationale possible for keeping the casinos in Macau open right now is a social one which is to keep Macau residents employed"
Managing partner of IGamiX Management and Consulting Ltd