Three veteran officials from Macau’s casino regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, each told a court session on Tuesday they had not seen or received any reports suggesting former junket operator Suncity Group had been involved in either under-the-table betting for high rollers via the ‘multiplier’, or in proxy betting or online betting.
The three – each with several decades of experience as casino inspectors – had been called by the legal defence team of the most prominent of those accused in the case at the Court of First Instance: former Suncity Group boss Alvin Chau Cheok Wa.
Mr Chau and 20 other defendants face charges of illegal gaming, criminal association, fraud, and money laundering. Mr Chau is also charged with leading a criminal group. The indictment had stated the junket business led by Mr Chau had for years run in Macau multiplier bets on behalf of VIPs.
The three regulatory officials testifying were: Alexandre Alves Rodrigues, currently an advisor on inspection work at the gaming bureau, a body also known as DICJ; Paulo Jorge Moreira Castelo Basaloco, head of an inspection division at the bureau; and Yau Chi Fai, head of its operations division.
Earlier in their careers, they had each been monitoring city gaming floors in shift work as casino inspectors. That had included oversight of junkets’ VIP gaming clubs, as well VIP venues directly managed by casino concessionaires. Such work included checking for signs of illicit activities within gaming areas, and if necessary asking the Judiciary Police for help if crimes were suspected, the court heard.
Only one of the three officials, Mr Yau, mentioned any issue surfacing when he was inspector at a Suncity Group VIP club.
He told the court: “One time… we had seen a screen displayed at their [Suncity Group] cage that showed a text mentioning some overseas casinos and calling on gamblers to go there… We thought that could be their [Suncity Group] partners’ casinos overseas, so our inspectors made a report about it and asked the [host] casino operator to remove that advertisement.” He said it was taken down, following the bureau’s request.
Leong Hon Man, lawyer for former junket boss Mr Chau, asked Mr Yau whether he had witnessed any incidents in Suncity Group’s VIP gaming clubs that had to be referred to the Judiciary Police for follow up. Mr Yau responded: “Not during my duty. What we handled mostly with Suncity was the smoking control work that we did together with the Health Bureau. Later on when the [Covid-19] pandemic happened, we worked on things like enforcing social distancing.”
The three DICJ officials were respectively asked what procedure should apply from a regulatory standpoint if a gambler asked to make an individual wager higher than the maximum bet limit approved for a gaming table in a single game. To that question, all the officials replied that the gambler’s request would have to be rejected by the casino dealer serving the player.
The trial continues.
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