- Legal States
Julie Moraine September 19, 2022 3 min read
Chau Knew of Multiplier Bet Schemes but Did not Participate
The first day of the trial against Alvin Chau at Macau’s Court of First Instance saw the former boss and founder of the Suncity Group deny any allegations of participating in multiplier bet schemes at casinos in Macau.
Iceberg-Type Scheme to Hide GGR, Avoid Tax
The prosecution began the trial by focusing on conversations tapped by the police which allegedly show Chau’s participation in an under-the-table-bet scheme for high-rollers. In the so-called multiplier bet, a gambler’s real bet is calculated by multiplying the official bet made at the table by a number allowing the casino operator to reduce the amount of gross gaming revenue (GGR) and avoid paying Macau’s effective tax rate of 39% on GGR.
According to the prosecution, Chau was also the mastermind behind the idea of the entities responsible for handling the multiplier bet schemes by inviting several individuals to form these entities, increase operating capital and diversify the risk.
Chau denied allegations of participating in the multiplier bet schemes, explaining that the conversations show him handling issues around player credit and risk monitoring.
“I took no part in the interests related to multiplier activities,” Chau stated.
Macau’s Public Prosecution Office charged Chau and the other defendants with running a criminal syndicate dealing with illegal gaming, criminal association, fraud, and money laundering, having allegedly cheated the Macau government of HK$8.26 billion ($1.05 billion) in tax revenue from 2013 to 2021 according to the official indictment cited by GGRAsia.
According to a decision of the Court of First Instance on Friday, September 16, civil proceedings against Chau and the other defendants will be considered in a separate case.
A press release issued earlier in September by the court revealed that some of the Macau concessionaires, including Wynn Macau, Sands China, and SJM Holdings, are registered as complainants and will seek to recover damages totaling HK$2.28 billion in GGR.
People Unrelated to Suncity behind the Multiplier Bets Scheme
Responding to a question asked by the lawyer representing Wynn Macau about what was the starting date of operation of the entities accused of handling multiplier bets, Chau responded that they had been “there all the time” but he had no part in them.
When asked if he personally knew any of the defendants who had been involved in the scheme, Chau suggested that Cheong Chi Kin was one of them but he was not on Suncity payroll.
Chau dismissed allegations of him collateralizing players’ gaming debt incurred through the multiplier bet scheme by using asset or project acquisition in mainland China, as well as having knowledge of his company engaging in soliciting activities for proxy betting in Macau as these were shifted to the Philippines in 2015. Chau also denied any participation in his junket business in promoting gambling in mainland China.
The trial is set to continue on Tuesday, September 20.