Suncity Group has been deemed as unsuitable to hold a license to operate Philippines junkets after an investigation in which customers were complaining about the company withholding funds from them. This represents the culmination of the investigation that was launched by PAGCOR back in August 2021.
The Evidence Was Substantial According to the Gaming Regulator
PAGCOR published a lengthy report last week and in it, the regulator stated that the claims against Suncity were supported by “substantial evidence.” The investigation against the operator was launched after two groups of complainants stated that the company did not grant them withdrawals for funds that they previously deposited.
According to PAGCOR, the total number of complainants reached 29 and the front money that was owed was HK$160.8 million ($205.4 million).
A group of 22 complainants stated that they deposited HK$154.5 million ($197.4 million), but under one condition – they can withdraw or use their funds at any time and location where Suncity Group is operational.
PAGCOR gave a one-month deadline to Suncity Group to release the front money to the complainants. If they do so, the company will be able to retain its license. Furthermore, the company will have to place the front money of its clients in a separate bank account, which cannot be used for business purposes. The only way through which Suncity will be able to withdraw money from that account is if it sends it to its clients.
Finally, the company will have to submit a sworn quarterly statement about the total sum of deposited front money and a bank balance sheet. This reporting will be overlooked by a special monitoring team and if Suncity Group fails at any point, it will be labeled as permanently unsuitable to hold a license.
Suncity Group’s CEO Was Recently Detained in Macau
Suncity Group has been facing some issues recently. Back in November, the company’s boss, Alvin Chau, was detained in Macau. He was accused of profiting off various channels through which rich Chinese citizens could gamble both offshore and cross-border. These activities are considered illegal in China.
Chau and 11 other people, all of which were connected to the group, were arrested, and even though JP Morgan analysts stated that this is bad news for the junket sector in Macau, the consequences will not be long-term. In December, Chau relinquished control from a jail cell in the special administrative region. Chau’s arrest was not mentioned in PAGCOR’s report.
December was also the month in which Suncity announced that it will cease all of its junket operations in Macau via a letter to its employees. The letter was published online and stated that the company will work with the relevant departments of the government “to ensure a smooth transition.” During its peak, Suncity had 17 Macau VIP rooms.