Junket operator Suncity Group is to suspend its VIP gaming operations in Macau from the stroke of midnight on Wednesday, December 1, GGRAsia has learned from sources.
It was not clear the total number of VIP rooms in Macau that would cease operations from December 1, and what would happen to the staff at those venues. It was also not clear if Suncity Group would suspend its operations in other markets in the Asia-Pacific region.
GGRAsia approached Suncity Group for a comment but had not received a reply by the time the story went online. Suncity Group’s corporate website has also gone offline.
It had been reported earlier that Suncity Group would maintain operations at its VIP clubs at Galaxy Macau and StarWorld Hotel, two properties of Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. But a spokesperson for the casino firm told the Chinese-language radio service of public broadcaster TDM that the Suncity Group clubs at its two properties would also suspend operations from December 1.
The junket brand told Chinese-language Macao Daily News that it had plans to restructure its business, and would keep paying its employees.
The suspension of VIP operations in Macau comes after Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, boss of the junket brand, was detained on Saturday on suspicion of organising illegal gambling for Chinese customers, including online gambling via the Philippines.
In a Monday statement, Macau’s Public Prosecutions Office confirmed that a total of five people – including Mr Chau – had been placed in pre-trial detention in Macau, following a decision by a local judge. A total of 11 people had been questioned linked to the case, and six of the suspects had to pay bail and are now barred from leaving Macau and must present themselves regularly to the police, according to the prosecutors.
On Friday, the authorities in the mainland city of Wenzhou had separately issued an arrest warrant for Mr Chau, on suspicion of promotion of “cross-border gambling” to Chinese consumers.
According to a number of industry analysts, Suncity Group was in pre-pandemic times the largest junket in the world by turnover. It accounted for around 45 percent of the junket market in Macau based on 2019 figures, according to several brokerages. Suncity Group also had a footprint in the VIP segment in a number of casinos in the Asia-Pacific region.
Suncity Group Holdings Ltd, a separate, Hong Kong-listed firm controlled by Mr Chau, has warned that if it loses his financial support “for whatever reason”, its “financial position, business, and operation” would be “adversely affected”.
The listed company has interests in several casino schemes around the Asia-Pacific region, but does not include the junket business. The firm’s stock plunged 48.2 percent on Tuesday to a record low after being suspended from trade a day earlier.
(Story updated at 11.13pm, Nov 30)
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