Currently facing 200+ charges

Former Macau junket boss Alvin Chau denies illegal gambling allegations at first day of trial

Alvin Chau, former CEO at Suncity Group Holdings.
Reading time 1:40 min

Former Suncity Group Holdings' CEO Alvin Chau, who is under trial for more than 200 charges related to illegal gambling, has denied the accusations, which include enabling illict gambling activities, running a criminal syndicate, money laundering, and fraud at the start of his trial on Monday.

Chau stepped down as CEO of Suncity junket in December 2021, after he was arrested for money laundering in November. The arrest came after the eastern Chinese city of Wenzhou issued a warrant accusing Chau of operating gambling activities on the mainland, where gaming is prohibited.

Alvin Chau Cheok Wa

The former Macau junket tycoon told Macau's primary court that he did not operate any illegal gambling or commit money laundering, according to public broadcaster TDM. He also said that his business in the Philippines was permitted by local authorities there. Furthermore, Chau claimed no one from Suncity Group had promoted gambling on the mainland.

Chau's Suncity was a major player in Macau until 2019, prior to the coronavirus pandemic, accounting for around 25% of total gaming revenues, industry executives said. Macau casinos generated $36 billion in revenue in 2019, partly fueled by the now-declining junket segment.

However, much has changed since then, and the junket industry in the gaming hub has collapsed since Chau's arrest with all of Suncity's VIP rooms shuttered last December. Many others folded, hit by poor sentiment and a lack of business due to COVID-related travel restrictions, as reported by Reuters.

Levo Chan Weng Lin, former chairman of Tak Chun Group

In January, Macau police also arrested the second-largest casino junket boss, Levo Chan Weng Lin, chairman and controlling shareholder of Tak Chun Group and co-chairman and CEO of Macau Legend Development, on charges of being involved in a criminal organization, illegal gambling, and money laundering. 

Both Chau and Chan have been in custody in Macau prison since their arrests. Macau's government has tried to rein in junkets with a new law stipulating that casino operators no longer have dedicated junket rooms in casinos. According to analysts, their influence is likely to be further diluted going forward.

Macau is the only place in China where it is legal to gamble in casinos. Heavily reliant on gaming taxes, which account for more than 80% of government revenue, the city has had little success in diversifying its economy thus far. Junkets act as middlemen who help facilitate gambling for Chinese high-rollers in Macau, extending credit and also collecting on their debt on behalf of casino operators.

Leave your comment:
Subscribe to our newsletter
Enter your email to receive the latest news