- »Suncity Feels Fallout from Crown Scandal
Suncity Feels Fallout from Crown Scandal
Suncity Group runs one of the most famous junkets from Macau to Australia. But since it was connected to Crown Resorts in the recent organized crime investigation, the fallout has been severe.
Australian media has reported that Suncity Alvin Chau is under investigation by Australian authorities. Star Entertainment shut down Suncity’s high roller room at its Sydney casino. And Suncity has been forced to scale back operations on a drastic scale.
What is Suncity?
Suncity Group says it offers “worldwide VIP services” for people in the Suncity VIP Club. Members receive hotel reservations, air and ferry bookings, visa applications, and ground transportation that may include chauffeur-driven vehicles.
The company boasts of numerous quality certifications obtained over the past decade, rendering it a 7-Star Casino VIP Club.
Its website also boasts of high-end entertainment in these locations:
- Macau (18 VIP clubs, 1 Poker King club)
- Korea (2 VIP clubs)
- Melbourne, Australia (1 VIP club)
- Sydney, Australia (1 VIP club)
- Philippines (7 VIP clubs, 1 Poker King club)
- Vietnam (1 VIP club)
- Cambodia (1 VIP club)
The Australia locations may be changing.
Suncity CEO Banned from Australia?
Fairfax Media, which owns the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age, reported that Suncity Group CEO Alvin Chau was banned from entering Australia. The ban was put in place by the Home Affairs department of the government.
The sources for that reporting were “official sources” that preferred to remain anonymous.
This news emerged just days after the original Crown scandal reporting of the casino’s links to organized crime via high roller traffic delivered to the casinos. That investigation was headed up partially by the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age, along with 60 Minutes.
Chau Says No
Suncity disputed any assertions that its chairman, executive director, and controlling shareholder was banned from Australia.
In fact, Suncity Group issued a statement to Macau Business. It read, in part, “Mr. Chau has no intention to go to Australia for the forthcoming twelve months and he is not aware of the said investigation of such Australian casinos. Mr. Chau further clarifies that he is not subject to any Australian investigation as at the date of this announcement.”
Star Breaks Up with Suncity?
In the days that followed, the Aussie media reached out to the Star Entertainment Group to find out if it would continue working with Suncity.
At that time, Star CEO Matt Bekier told the Age there would be no interruption in the business they conduct with Suncity. Further, he said the issue of junkets in general would not even be reviewed, no matter the recent investigations regarding Crown.
Bekier went on to describe Suncity as one of the junkets that are “credible and have been approved, in some states, by the regulators.” He said the partnerships with junkets are lawful, clean and legal.
Suncity Aussie VIP Rooms Closing
Less than two weeks later, the Age reported that Star changed its tune. A representative for Star Entertainment’s management confirmed that the VIP gaming room that Suncity operated at Star Sydney would be closing in a matter of days.
The Age stated that Star and Suncity reached a “mutual decision” to shut down the room.
Bekier would only comment on the room in a very limited statement: “The fixed room of Suncity will be discontinued here. They had a small fixed room. That room is being closed.”
He would not, however, comment on Star continuing any relationships with the Suncity junket in general.
Further, the same media outlet reported that the Suncity VIP gaming room at the Crown Melbourne property was to close to as well.
Those were the only two VIP rooms that Suncity operated in Australia, as reported on its website. However, there has been no change to the home page of the site, which still offers VIP trips to Melbourne and Sydney.
Suncity Under Scrutiny
As a result of last month’s bombshell investigative report, Crown felt the impact. Stockholders were jumpy and uncomfortable. Politicians were angry. Governmental entities and regulators launched official investigations.
While Crown Resorts was at the center of the story, the allegations of criminal connections came from the naming of Suncity Group as the link between Crown and those crimes.
Not only has the Australian government long been suspicious that Suncity was involved in “large-scale money laundering activities,” many Suncity executives and employees have been linked to triads and organized crime groups.
To be precise, the report stated that Suncity Group’s “controlling entities” pose “tangible criminal and reputational risks” to gambling integrity in various countries.
Suncity may be able to continue business, as it seems to be doing, with other countries, but its relationship with Australian casinos seems to have ended. This may hurt the Aussie casinos more than Suncity itself, but only time will tell the true impact on all involved.