Junket operator Suncity Group says it is committed to return advance deposits made to the firm and subsequently claimed by high-roller players in the Philippines. The company’s statement comes after a media report earlier this week by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, stating the company was struggling to return the money to the alleged claimants.
The affected people were reportedly requesting full access to advance deposits made to the junket firm at its VIP operations located in casinos in the Philippines. Such advances were made before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, according to the Daily Inquirer’s report.
“Suncity continues to reiterate its commitment to honour its obligations,” said the firm, in a notice published on Thursday evening in the online version of Manila Bulletin newspaper, and referring to the Daily Inquirer report.
The company added: “However, several issues also arise upon withdrawal including the absence of the account holder, lacking proper and acceptable authorisation for representatives, non-compliance with agreed withdrawal procedures, or non-compliance with anti-money laundering safeguards being implemented by Suncity.”
The report by the Daily Inquirer said that the local unit of Suncity Group had addressed the issue of player refund in a letter to the country’s regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), following complaints by the players allegedly affected by the delays.
“There really is difficulty in releasing the entirety of the placements at once” due to the Suncity Group’s current financial situation, lawyers representing Suncity Group Manila Inc director Alvin Chau Cheok Wa said in the letter to Pagcor, as quoted by the Daily Inquirer.
GGRAsia contacted Suncity Group regarding the allegations featured in the Daily Inquirer report, but we were directed to the company statement published in the Manila Bulletin.
The report from the Daily Inquirer had added that Suncity Group was readying cash and properties to reimburse the players.
“An instalment plan to complete the release of the funds in 11 months has been proposed and an option to settle by way of dacion of real properties has likewise been offered,” said Suncity Group’s letter to Pagcor, as per the Daily Inquirer report.
Suncity Group’s latest statement in the Manila Bulletin made no reference to how the firm was preparing to reimburse the players. It did confirm that the junket operator had addressed the issue in “several letters” to Pagcor.
The Daily Inquirer’s report said the matter involved “49 casino junket players”. In its statement, Suncity Group disputed the figure, without providing an alternative one.
“Some of these claimants have already settled their accounts wh Suncity,” said the firm.
The junket operator also disputed that Ronald Aala, identified in the Daily Inquirer’s report as counsel for the 49 customers, was actually authorised to represent them. “This lack of authority has been raised by Suncity in its response to Pagcor,” stated the junket firm.
The Daily Inquirer’s original report had quoted Mr Aala as saying one of the original conditions for the advance deposits to Suncity Group was that players could use or withdraw their money at any time.
Privately-held Macau casino junket brand Suncity Group is a firm linked to Mr Chau, who also leads Hong Kong-listed Suncity Group Holdings Ltd.
The company also has an investment in Hong Kong-listed Summit Ascent Holdings Ltd, the promoter of the Tigre de Cristal casino resort in Vladivostok, Russia.
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