The fallout of Alvin Chau’s arrest, the Suncity boss and head of the biggest junket operator in Macau, has spread across the Pacific Ocean and arrived in Las Vegas where casino workers have called for a federal investigation into Suncity and its now severed business ties with US gambling businesses.
Federal Authorities Need to Investigate US Casinos Ties with Suncity
The International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 501, has called for a detailed investigation into the matter. The union’s 2000-strong members work as heavy equipment operators and mechanics in casinos in Las Vegas, Nevada, and they believe their interests must be protected.
Macau recently clamped down on Suncity, the biggest junket operator in the region. Junkets are intermediaries between gambling companies, high roller, and VIP customers, whereby junkets try to convince such valuable customers to visit specific gaming properties. They often offer them financial incentives to do so.
Since Chau and ten other people were arrested in November 2021 on charges of running a cross-border gambling syndicate, things have changed. Junkets have been dropped outright from the strategies of many companies, including Melco Resorts and Las Vegas Sands, which both cited regulatory uncertainty.
Macau reissued a reduced number of junket operator licenses in 2022, in fact twice smaller than the junkets allowed to run business in 2021. The union has targeted Suncity, citing a litany of potential wrongdoings conducted by the operator:
“The VIP-junket industry, however, has long been tainted by reports of organized crime influence and money laundering.”International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 501
What Is the US Involvement with Suncity and Junkets?
Suncity, which filed for dissolution shortly after the arrest of his boss, has been running junket operations across East Asia, mostly targeting mainland Chinese VIP gamblers. According to the union, those findings should alarm authorities and trigger an investigation as many US casino licensees who have operated overseas had extensive ties with Suncity Group.
The union believes that state-run gambling regulators have been inefficient in dealing with how US casino licensees interact with junket operators. Therefore, the union added that the matter should be taken to federal authorities.
The union has reached out to the US Justice Department, US Secretary of State, the White House National Security Council, the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, and others. What this investigation may reveal is still anyone’s guess, but the union is determined to pursue the matter.