SVA Interview – Gaming Over Suncity Officially Ceases All Operations

The Suncity Gaming Promotion Company has officially ceased all operations, the company announced in a notice to all employees.

In the notice, the company explained that operations ceased because of the suspension of cooperative relationships with the gaming concessionaires, as well as the need to cooperate with judicial procedures following the detention of the company’s CEO, Alvin Chau.

Claiming force majeure, the company is said to be terminating all operations effective from last Friday, December 10.

The company also announced that it will work in cooperation with relevant government departments to ensure a smooth transition, noting that arrangements for staff will be communicated through department heads at a later stage.

Several experts, speaking to the Times when Chau was detained and accused of running a criminal organization as well as crimes related to money laundering, warned that the case would likely have broader implications for the sector and could lead to the end of operations for all gaming promoters in Macau, also known as junkets.

Macau-based gaming expert Ben Lee told the Times that, in his opinion, the Suncity case would prompt a full restructure of junket licensing, as well as gaming concessions.

Gaming law expert Carlos Lobo expressed a similar opinion, saying that the repercussions of this case on other junkets would be inevitable.

“We are at an extremely complex moment, [and] we will have to wait a while to understand the scale of the impact – but to me, this foreshadows the end of the junket system in Macau,” Lobo said.

Also speaking to the Times, Steve Vickers, a specialist in Political and Corporate Risk Consultancy and CEO of Steve Vickers and Associates, said he thought that the case would be a “game changer.”

“The game has certainly changed, [but] this is not doomsday – as long as Macau is the only place in China where you can place a bet, and as long as Chinese people love to bet, then Macau will always do well. It just won’t be the only game in town,” Vickers said.

Gov’t establishes emergency counter

Just a few days after stating that staff members from recently closed casino VIP rooms should not be affected, the Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL) and the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) have jointly announced the establishment of an emergency office to address the cases of workers dismissed from junket companies and casino VIP rooms.

In a joint press statement issued yesterday, the DSAL and the DICJ expressed concerns about “the impact of the Suncity incident on their employees’ labor relations.”

In this statement, the DSAL noted having received several inquiries and requests for help and so the bureau has decided to set up a special counter at the Tai Peng Industrial Building branch, in the surroundings of the border gate.

This counter opens from today to provide labor rights consultations and assist with registration for affected employees’ government support services.