Suncity founder sentenced to 18 years in Macau for illegal gambling

The founder of the Suncity Group, once Macau’s largest operator of casino junkets, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison after being convicted of illegal gambling activities, running a criminal organization and numerous other charges.

lvin Chau was arrested in November 2021 on a warrant based on allegations that he had run an illegal cross-border gambling syndicate with others.

Macau is the only place in China where casinos are legal, and junket operators like Suncity have been an important part of the gambling industry.

They helped facilitate gambling for high rollers outside the former Portuguese colony, including arranging travel services and providing them with credit.

Macau prosecutors charged Chau and some co-defendants with running a syndicate that caused the city government to lose about $1 billion (£817 million) in tax revenue between 2013 and 2021. They are said to have made ill-gotten gains through their side-betting activities.

Chau faced nearly 290 charges in one of the gaming hub’s biggest crime cases in years.

At sentencing, the judge noted that Chaus’s defense attorneys attempted to prove that his client had not participated in the side betting activities, but she concluded that such operations would not have been possible without Chaus’s consent.

But she acquitted Chau of money laundering.

The court ordered Chau and some co-defendants to pay the government $830 million (£678 million) and financial compensation to various casino operators.

The junket sector plummeted after Chaus’s arrest, and Suncity closed its VIP rooms.

In January last year, Macau police also arrested Levo Chan, a former boss of another leading junket company, on alleged illicit gambling deals.

The casino hub is preparing for a rebound in tourism and casinos after China eased its Covid-19 restrictions in recent weeks.

In 2022, gambling revenue was halved from the previous year to $5.3 billion (£4.3 billion). Suncity founder sentenced to 18 years in Macau for illegal gambling

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