This past Monday, Chinese news outlet Economic Information Daily published an article stating that Suncity Group was involved in online gaming. The junket investor had reportedly been recruiting gamblers to sign up for an online gaming application available outside of Macau, and the news didn’t sit well with Macau’s gaming authority, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ, for its Portuguese acronym). To help clear the air and make sure everyone is on the same page, the DICJ called gaming operators in Macau into a meeting Wednesday to reiterate the city’s position on enforcing gaming laws.
According to the Macau Daily Times, the DICJ called in the city’s six gaming operators and junket representatives to talk about adherence to both foreign and domestic gambling laws and games of chance. The director of the DICJ, Paulo Martins Chan, told the group that online gambling is off-limits according to local laws and the that the gaming sector is not allowed to promote the activity through any channels inside Macau.
The director further suggested that casino concessionaires, as well as sub-concessionaires, need to properly manage their junkets to ensure that they don’t abuse the relationships in order to promote any form of online gambling or proxy betting. He reminded the meeting participants that any violation of the rules could cause the junket to be shut down, even if the violation takes place outside of Macau’s borders.
Suncity has denied the allegations that appeared in the media, saying that they were “false” and “mostly conjectures.” In a published rebuttal to the article, Suncity adds, ““Sun City Gaming Promotion Company Limited hereby declares that, under the authorization of the Macau Special Administrative Region, the Company is the legitimate institution granted with Junket Promoter License, any engagement in the junket promoting business is legalized with rightful permissions. The Company has no possession of any casino and gaming tables, neither does it operate any online gaming business.”
The Sanford C. Bernstein brokerage believes that the article may have been meant to serve as a warning to junket operators to always play by the rules. The brokerage’s analysts said, “The article itself could be a warning message for Suncity and maybe other online gaming/proxy betting operators to tone down excessive offshore play. Junkets may face greater scrutiny on their offshore businesses, some game play may gravitate back to Macau as players may retreat from online play and junkets may face greater scrutiny in Macau on how they interact with players (with respect to signing them up for online accounts in Macau).”