Asian junket firm, Suncity Group, has reportedly decided to abandon the Australian casino market following allegations that its VIP operations in Melbourne and Sydney may have aided Chinese organized crime syndicates in illegally laundering money.
According to a report citing an earlier story from The Age newspaper, the revelation follows the initiation of an investigation by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) into whether high-roller gambling lounges such as those run by the Macau-headquartered firm could be helping to facilitate illicit activities such as money laundering.
GGRAsia reported that Suncity is responsible for VIP gaming lounges inside the giant Crown Melbourne, which is operated by Crown Resorts Limited, as well as The Star Entertainment Group Limited’s equally impressive The Star Sydney. But, its junket services for both of these are now purportedly set to be shuttered beginning with Sydney before being closely followed by Melbourne.
Matt Bekier, Chief Executive Officer for The Star, reportedly detailed that his firm’s most recent annual turnover from foreign high-rollers had declined by 30.7% year-on-year to approximately $28.8 billion. He moreover purportedly explained that the Brisbane-based operator’s comparable international VIP revenues over the course of the same twelve-month period had dipped by some 16.7% to hit slightly above $397.1 million.
Bekier reportedly told The Age…
“The fixed room of Suncity [Group] will be discontinued here. It had a small fixed room. That room is being closed.”
The ACIC inquiry was launched last month amid allegations that the business of Crown Resorts Limited was being used by foreign organized crime gangs to illegally launder cash. Although Suncity Group was not specifically mentioned, the rumor mill purportedly went into overdrive after claims emerged that the privately-held firm’s boss, Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, had been refused entry to Australia.
Chau additionally serves as Chairman for Asian casino firm Suncity Group Holdings Limited and it subsequently responded to the allegations of impropriety by declaring that it was not being officially investigated and that the billionaire businessman was not planning to travel to Australia in the next twelve months.