February 1, 2023
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Court sentences Macau junket mogul Alvin Chau to 18 years in jail

HONG KONG — A Macau court docket sentenced a high playing boss to 18 years in jail after he was discovered responsible of 162 expenses, together with enabling and working unlawful gaming, public broadcaster TDM reported on Wednesday.

Alvin Chau was chairman of Macau’s Suncity junket operator — which brokered the playing exercise of Chinese language excessive rollers — till December 2021, a month after his arrest.

The sentence marks a dramatic turnaround for the businessman, who was additionally discovered responsible of fraud and of working a legal syndicate, and who as soon as presided over the playing hub’s VIP business.

Mr. Chau denied all wrongdoing throughout his two-month trial, which was watched carefully by many in the previous Portuguese colony, the place he has a celebrity-like standing.

Mr. Chau should pay the Macau authorities greater than HK$6.5 billion ($830.66 million) in addition to HK$178 million to HK$770 million to on line casino operators MGM China, Wynn Macau, Sands China, Galaxy Leisure and SJM Holdings, TDM stated.

Macau is the one metropolis in China the place residents are permitted to gamble in casinos. Tax revenues from its casinos account for greater than 80% of presidency earnings.

Chau’s attorneys had argued that he didn’t function any unlawful playing or commit cash laundering and that his enterprise in the Philippines was permitted by native authorities there. Nobody from Suncity Group had promoted playing on the mainland, his attorneys stated.

Junket operators assist facilitate playing for rich Chinese language in Macau, extending them credit score and accumulating on their debt on behalf of on line casino operators. Advertising and marketing or soliciting playing in mainland China is against the law.— Reuters

Mr. Chau’s Suncity was a serious participant in Macau till 2019, earlier than prior the coronavirus outbreak, accounting for about 25% of complete gaming revenues, business executives stated.

That 12 months, Macau casinos generated $36 billion in income.

The junket business has collapsed in the previous Portuguese colony since Mr. Chau’s arrest, with all of Suncity’s VIP rooms shuttered. Many different operators folded, harm by poor sentiment and a scarcity of enterprise due to COVID-19 associated journey restrictions.

Macau’s authorities nonetheless permits junkets to function however they face way more scrutiny after new laws authorised in December final 12 months which regulates their licensing and actions.

Junkets are actually solely allowed to accomplice with a single on line casino; earlier than they may work with as many as they wished with little oversight.  — (*18*)Reuters

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