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Jerome García January 8, 2024 2 min read
More than $42bn Wagered Online through Suncity, Claims Report
A newly released report suggests Suncity orchestrated a large-scale online gambling operation that saw billions of wagers
Suncity Group, once a leading casino junket, was responsible for some RMB300 billion ($42 billion) in wagers via online gambling activities, a report released by China Central Television (CCTV) reveals. Details emerged Monday with the report claiming that the junket operator benefitted from some RMB8.7 billion ($1.22 billion).
Currently, online gambling activities are prohibited in mainland China. A court in Wenzhou previously heard that Suncity targeted gamblers from mainland China, offering online gambling activities.
Suncity’s former CEO, Alvin Chau, along with Zhang Ningning, who held the role of director of asset management, were subsequently arrested and sentenced. Additionally, more than 30 individuals, involved in Suncity’s operations were also on trial.
The newly released report outlines that Suncity established a large-scale cross-border gambling syndicate. Allegedly, the company was behind different online gambling platforms that operated in the Philippines and nearly 300 Chinese nationals were involved in the operation between 2015 and 2019.
The crackdown against junkets and Suncity in particular disrupted the once profitable sector. Back in 2013, there was an all-time high record of 235 junkets operating in the region. However, the downfall of Suncity resulted in a shift in the market that significantly reduced its number to only 36 as of last year. Most recent data shows another drastic decline in the number of junkets that plummeted to 18.
Former Executives Sentenced for Their Involvement
The amount of RMB300 billion ($42 billion) wagered via Suncity’s platforms is a staggering yet unsurprising number. Considering that iGaming activities are prohibited, many Chinese nationals seek options online. However, once the cross-border online gambling syndicate was uncovered, 20 people, along with Chau and Ningning were indicted.
Back in January last year, Chau was sentenced to 18 years in prison, the toughest sentence out of anyone involved in the organization. He was convicted of criminal association, proxy betting, under-the-table betting, as well as illegal gambling. While Chau attempted to appeal his sentence, the Court of Second Instance in Macau reaffirmed his prison sentence back in October.
On the other hand, Ningning was also sentenced to prison. For her involvement, she was given seven years, along with a fine.
Besides a decrease in the number of operators, Macau implemented strict new measures. This impacted the operations of junkets with brick-and-mortar venues gradually shifting away from such partnerships.