In Macau and the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau regulator has reportedly confirmed the temporary closure of all local VIP gaming lounges operated by junket firm Suncity Group.
According to a report from GGRAsia, the shutterings come after the boss for the Hong Kong-headquartered junket giant, Alvin Chau Cheok Wa (pictured), was arrested by officials in mainland China over the weekend on charges that he had been helping to facilitate illegal cross-border gambling. The source detailed that the 47-year-old billionaire is also being investigated for allegedly running an illicit iGaming operation in the Philippines and earlier announced that he will be standing down from his leadership positions with Asian casino investor Suncity Group Holdings Limited.
The Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau reportedly used an official filing to declare that the enclave’s six-strong club of licensed land-based casino firms were ‘temporarily suspending the operation’ of VIP lounges they host on behalf of Suncity Group. One of these, MGM Resorts International, which is responsible via its MGM China Holdings Limited subsidiary for the MGM Cotai and MGM Macau properties, purportedly disclosed that it had suspended its cooperation agreement with the junket behemoth from yesterday.
Although it reportedly refused to comment on the charges facing Chau owing to the ongoing nature of the case, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau did use its press release to proclaim that ‘all casino operators and junket operators must carry out their activities in strict compliance with the law’. The gaming regulator for the former Portuguese enclave similarly declined to outline just how many lounges were being impacted by the closure decision or offer any advice to staff who had been employed at these venues.
For its part and Macau’s Labour Affairs Bureau reportedly separately admitted to being ‘concerned’ about the incident involving the boss of Suncity Group before detailing that it now intends to contact the company in hopes of receiving more information regarding the status of its many workers. The government department moreover purportedly noted that it had received eleven enquiries regarding such issues as of this morning although none of these had yet been progressed or morphed into formal complaints.
GGRAsia finished by reporting that it remains unclear as to just how the potential downfall of Suncity Group would definitively impact the employment market in Macau. The source noted that this uncertainty is all the more complex due to the fact that the firm is furthermore active within a number of other local industries including the travel and restaurant sectors.