Two casino resorts in the Philippine capital Manila have confirmed to GGRAsia they no longer have links to junket brand Suncity Group and say respectively that the separation was some time ago; an on-site check at a third casino venue shows that a Suncity-branded room has not been open since early last week. The information comes as all Suncity VIP rooms in Macau ceased operation as of December 1.
The suspension of VIP operations in Macau came after Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, boss of the junket brand, was detained on suspicion of organising illegal gambling for Chinese customers, including online gambling via the Philippines. The alleged site of such gambling has not been mentioned in information made public about the invesitigation.
The Suncity venue in Manila confirmed to have closed last week was within the Okada Manila casino resort, according to checks done on behalf of GGRAsia.
Separately, a spokesperson for City of Dreams Manila said in an emailed reply to our enquiry: “Suncity ceased operations at City of Dreams Manila at the end of the first quarter in 2021.”
Additionally, Hakan Dagtas, executive vice president and chief gaming and marketing officer at casino complex Resorts World Manila, near the Philippine capital’s main airport, told GGRAsia in response to our enquiry: “Suncity decided to stop their operation in Resorts World Manila back in October 2019.”
Suncity Group Holdings Ltd, a Hong Kong-listed firm formerly chaired by Mr Chau, founder of the privately-held gambling junket brand Suncity Group, has been investing in an under-construction casino at the Westside City Project in Manila.
The scheme coordinator is Manila-listed Suntrust Home Developers Inc, which is 51-percent indirectly owned by Suncity Group Holdings. Suntrust said in a filing last week that the build work on the casino at Westside City was continuing, notwithstanding Mr Chau’s detention and resignation as chairman of Suncity Group Holdings.
GGRAsia also approached another large private-sector gaming complex in the Philippine capital known to have had in the past a Suncity venue on site: Solaire Resort and Casino. GGRAsia asked if a Suncity venue was still on site and running. We had not received a reply by the time this story went online.
After attempting to contact that junket brand via the marketing desk of Solaire, the staff member answering told GGRAsia they had no information on the topic.
GGRAsia additionally approached the Philippine gaming regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), to ask whether it had had any regulatory involvement with Suncity in the Manila market – including regarding any deposits made locally by players – since news of Mr Chau’s detention. We had not received a reply by the time this story went online.
In mid-August, Pagcor told GGRAsia it was investigating claims that privately-held Suncity Group had not at that time returned – on request from customers – some player deposits lodged in the Philippines.
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Chief commercial officer of testing and certification firm GLI