A movie- and music-making unit of Macau junket room investor Suncity Group Ltd is said to be shifting its headquarters to Macau in order to promote the city’s cultural sector.
The news was given in Macau’s Legislative Assembly on Monday by Alexis Tam Chon Weng, Macau’s Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture.
The city’s government has targeted creative industries as a growth sector as it seeks to comply with the central government’s call for Macau to diversify its economy from gaming. A range of Chinese, Korean, Indian and Hollywood films, including the 2011 release ‘Johnny English Reborn’ starring British comic actor Rowan Atkinson, have featured location shooting in and around Macau casinos.
Sun Entertainment Culture Ltd currently has its headquarters in Hong Kong, the traditional centre for Cantonese-language films and Cantonese popular music. It also has an office in Beijing.
The firm’s stable of artistes includes Hong Kong singer Fiona Sit and Hong Kong model and actress Janice Man. Its feature film releases include 2009’s ‘Poker King’, which included location shoots on the gaming floor at Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd’s StarWorld Macau. The film also gave a role to Josie Ho Chiu Yi, a daughter of Macau casino entrepreneur Stanley Ho Hung Sun.
Suncity Group controlled an estimated 25 percent of the Macau market’s VIP rolling chip turnover in 2014, according to a report published in late January by Daiwa Securities Group Inc. Gross gaming revenue (GGR) for VIP baccarat – another measure of the high roller business – stood at MOP212.54 billion (US$26.6 billion) for the whole of 2014, meaning that even on the relatively thin margins of Macau junket business, the privately held Suncity Group is likely to have very strong cash flows.
Risk consultant Steve Vickers said at the Japan Gaming Congress in Tokyo in May last year that Macau junkets were coming under “increasing” mainland government “control”. He added that any not viewed as “politically sound” were “in trouble”.
Mr Vickers is a former commander of the Royal Hong Kong Police criminal intelligence bureau and now chief executive of Steve Vickers Associates, a specialist risk mitigation and intelligence firm based in Hong Kong. He said in a report published in January that one or more Macau junket operators might be allowed to join the market as fully-fledged casino operators when the current six licences expire on varying dates between 2020 and 2022.
Suncity Group has diversified into a range of businesses. According to Sun Entertainment Culture’s website, they include: Sun International Securities Ltd, registered with Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission to carry out activities in securities dealing; Sun Gold Group Co Ltd, mainly engaged in bullion trading business; Sun Finance Co Ltd, a loans company incorporated under the Money Lenders Ordinance in Hong Kong; and Sun ESEE Model Management, a joint venture of Sun Entertainment Culture and ESEE Model Management.
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Amount that each Macau casino operator paid for the circa six-month extension of their respective contract