The name of the Macau junket brand “Suncity” has been mentioned in multiple investigations since 2020 by public prosecutors in a variety of provinces across mainland China, according to documents seen by GGRAsia.
Last week the authorities in Wenzhou city in Zhejiang province went public with the announcement of an arrest warrant for Suncity Group’s founder, Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, on suspicion of facilitating “cross-border” gambling by Chinese patrons. On November 27, Mr Chau was detained in Macau regarding what was termed a separate probe into aiding cross-border proxy betting.
Aside from those events, the name “Suncity” was already featuring in a variety of mainland investigations, GGRAsia has now been able to confirm after a review of official documents. The documents were filed via the same database that showed three other major junket brand names serving mainland customers – “Tak Chun”, “Guangdong Club”, and “Meg Star – had been mentioned in mainland probes since 2020.
In some of the Suncity indictments filed in mainland places aside from Wenzhou, individuals named were charged for their role as agents said to have arranged trips of Chinese gamblers from the mainland to what were termed Suncity-branded junket rooms in Macau, as well as to overseas casino destinations, according to documents seen by GGRAsia.
A number of the individuals named were mainland China residents each charged with the crime of “establishment of casinos”. The indictments were signed respectively on various dates in 2020 and 2021 by district procuratorates across a number of provinces in mainland China, including Jiangsu, Fujian, Guangdong, Anhui, Hubei, and Jiangxi, as well as Zhejiang.
The indictments were lodged with China’s national prosecuting agency, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate.
In some indictments mentioning “establishment of casino” as the crime, district public prosecutors mentioned suspects allegedly purchasing VIP gaming chips on behalf of patrons, and earning commissions from the players ‘rolling’ – via extended VIP play in what were termed Suncity premises either in Macau or overseas – those non-cashable chips.
At least two indictments seen by GGRAsia mentioned mainland suspects helping patrons from the mainland take part in proxy betting activities allegedly hosted in unidentified “Suncity”-branded gaming venues in Macau.
Proxy gambling typically involves a customer not physically present in a bricks and mortar casino, giving bet-placement instructions via telephone or digital device, to a person or “proxy” that is actually present at a live-dealer table in a casino.
Proxy betting was allegedly hosted in Macau in venues described as being linked to the Suncity brand at times from “July 5 to August 17 in 2015”, and in “March 2020”, according respectively to an indictment filed by a district procuratorate in Jiangsu province in December 2020, and another filed by a district procuratorate in Fujian province in March this year.
In spring 2016, Macau’s casino regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, a body also known as DICJ, issued an instruction clarifying that proxy betting was not permitted in the Macau market.
All the VIP rooms of the Suncity brand in Macau were out of operation as of Wednesday. It was not clear either how many VIP rooms Suncity had in Macau as of that day, or if the brand would suspend its operations in all its other markets in the Asia-Pacific region.
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