Recent allegations that Asian junket operator Suncity Group has been illegally offering ‘proxy’ online gaming services may have seriously hurt the firm’s prospects at obtaining a land-based casino license in Macau.

Damaging accusations:

According to a Thursday report, this is the opinion of two experts on the Macau casino scene after the enclave’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau regulator warned that it was prepared to ‘take serious action’ against anyone found to have broken 2016 rules against the provision of remote gambling.

GGRAsia reported that the claims against Suncity Group first emerged via a Monday story from the Economic Information Daily newspaper, which is affiliated with China’s state-backed Xinhua news service, but were subsequently met by an ardent denial from the Hong Kong-listed firm that it had ever provided ‘proxy’ wagering services.

Select set:

Currently only six firms are licensed to run land-based casinos in the former Portuguese enclave with this club encompassing Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited, MGM China Holdings Limited, SJM Holdings Limited and Galaxy Entertainment Group Limited as well as the local Sands China Limited and Wynn Macau Limited subordinates of Las Vegas Sands Corporation and Wynn Resorts Limited respectively. But, Suncity revealed in May that it is hoping to join this exclusive group via an expected public tender set to be held in advance of the expiration of the current state of affairs in late-June of 2022.

Capital concerns:

Wang Changbin, Director for the Macao Polytechnic Institute’s Gaming Teaching and Research Centre, reportedly told GGRAsia that the chances of Suncity Group obtaining a casino license had been negatively impacted because such contentions ‘create a bad record’.

Wang said…

“Online gaming and promotion of gaming are criminal offences in mainland China and the government is aware of its negative impact on the economy and is concerned about how it could result in capital outflow. The Chinese government is strong on its stance as you can see in the examples of the [2015] arrests of [South] Korean gaming promoters and of the [2016] arrests of Crown Resorts Limited executives.”

Long-term lookout:

Brendan Bussmann from Las Vegas-based gaming consultancy Global Market Advisors LLC reportedly echoed these sentiments, commenting that officials in Macau will likely look at any firm’s ‘existing and historical activities in other markets whether that be from a land-based or even online perspective’ before awarding a casino license.

Bussmann added…

“Since Macau opened up casinos beyond the original monopoly, the central government has provided numerous warnings against activities it views are not aligned with the social-economic system. I think most operators, including junkets, know that the central government will always have an eye on activities happening in Macau, on the mainland or elsewhere to make sure they keep on the prescribed path.”