The Suncity Group which is the biggest junket operator in the world has begun downsizing its Australian presence, most notably in the VIP gambling market.
The Macau based junket which is also the biggest recruiter of Chinese high-rollers reportedly reached a mutual decision with Star Entertainment which is Australia’s second largest casino operator.
The two have agreed to close Suncity’s VIP gambling rooms located at The Star’s Sydney casino.
Suncity’s fixed high-roller room at the Crown Casino in Melbourne’s Southbank will likely meet a similar fate in the next few weeks.
Star Entertainment Group CEO Matt Bekier officially announced the series of VIP room closures. Suncity is known for ferrying VIP Chinese gamblers to different gaming hubs around the world, among them Australia. These junkets bring in significant profits for casinos, with groups of Chinese national high-rollers spending some millions of dollars per hour.
Reports have begun circulating that Suncity head Alvin Chau was recently barred by the Department of Home Affairs from entering Australia due to an on-going investigation. The Star’s move to distance itself is in stark contrast with that of rival Crown Resorts. Crown’s executives have taken it upon themselves to back Suncity and confirm their support and long-standing partnership with Suncity and other junket operators.
However, Bekier has not commented if they’ll be fully severing their ties and dealings with Suncity. He underscored that Star Entertainment will continue to work with junket operators from around the world as long as they are lawful and compliant with Australia’s gaming regulations.
Leaked reports from the Hong Kong Jockey Club allege that in May 2017, Australian law enforcement met with club officials to warn them about Suncity’s activities linked to suspected large-scale money laundering. The reports also highlights Suncity’s alleged ties to prominent organized crime figures and numerous triad societies.
Crime Link Reports Prompt Massive Suncity Inquiry
The shuttering of Suncity’s VIP rooms has largely been brought about by media coverage which shows that Crown Resorts has been actively transacting with a handful of junket operators funded by prominent Chinese crime rings.
The New South Wales gaming regulator recently announced the launch of an independent inquiry of Crown’s junket ties. The investigation is set to be led by a former Supreme Court judge. It looks like Star Entertainment wants to take the safer route and not fall foul of Australian gaming regulators which is why it has moved forward with the closure of Suncity’s VIP gambling rooms.