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Lusa - Business News - Macau: Junket giant Suncity slams 'false rumours' of client withdrawals freeze

Macau, China,Sept.24,2020(Lusa)- Suncity, the world's largest organiser of gambling junkets, which has over 40% of the VIP market in Macau, has in a statement to Lusa denied reports of a freeze on withdrawals, following alleged customer complaints.
"There are no cases where customers are prevented from making withdrawals due to the freezing of funds," the company said in a written reply to Lusa.
In recent weeks there have been several complaints posted anonymously on websites by purported clients who state that they have being prevented from withdrawing funds they have deposited with the group, which has 17 VIP lounges in Macau and works with all the leading players in the region - Melco, MGM, Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (SJM), Galaxy and Wynn - as well as having VIP lounges in the Philippines, Cambodia and South Korea and a newly built 'mega resort' in Vietnam.
On one website, a group of 20 people calling themselves the 'Suncity Customer Rights Alliance' pledges to take the necessary legal steps to recover up to one billion Hong Kong dollars (€110 million) from the group that they say they have been prevented from withdrawing.
"The Group reiterates that the false rumours have seriously damaged the Group's interests and reputation," the Suncity statement reads. "The Group strongly condemns any individuals who spread the rumors with malicious intent, and reserves all rights to take legal action against such individuals."
It also maintains that Suncity provides "customers with a service for the deposit/withdrawal of chips for entertainment purposes".
Several media outlets have reported that gambling operators in Macau have suffered a significant outflow of funds this summer, disrupting their cash flow.
A number of customers are reported to have withdrawn their funds after China began a campaign against money laundering, illegal online gambling and the outflow of capital from the country.
"The Suncity Group's VIP business is financially sound," the company said in the statement sent to Lusa, so denying reports of cash shortages.
Lusa has asked Macau's Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) whether it has received complaints against Suncity and whether there is enough cash in the casinos.
The DICJ replied only that it would continue "to monitor the functioning of casinos and gambling intermediaries in Macau [and] closely monitor the situation to ensure the healthy development of the gaming industry in Macau."
As for money laundering, the bureau notes in the statement sent to Lusa that gambling licensees and brokers have been "implementing measures in line with the Macao government's policy against money laundering".
In late August, China's central government announced a blacklist of gambling destinations that it said were disrupting "the commercial order of China's foreign tourism market" as "some foreign cities have opened casinos to attract Chinese tourists to gamble." According to the authorities in Beijing, these resorts are also putting "the personal and property security of Chinese citizens at risk."
China has promised to impose "restrictive travel measures against Chinese citizens travelling to foreign and local cities."
Since Suncity announced in an interview with Lusa in May 2019 that it intended to apply for new gambling licences in Macau in 2022, it has been plagued by a series of allegations, including that it has been promoting "online gambling" and "proxy gambling" - and also that it is under investigation by the Chinese authorities for supporting pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong. The group has has always denied these accusations.
"The Suncity Group always cooperates fully with the Chinese Government and the Macau Government to prevent Macau from becoming a centre for money laundering, allowing the gambling industry to develop in a healthy way," reads Thursday's response to Lusa.
In July, the group's chairman, Alvin Chau, stressed Suncity's financial robustness, denying rumours that the alleged investigation by the Chinese authorities had prompted a rush by clients to withdraw money they had deposited with it. He said that the Suncity VIP Club had a fiscal reserve of 10.58 billion Hong Kong dollars and that its total assets offset customer deposits, foreseeable losses and bad debts.
Macau, the world's leading gambling destination, is the only place in China where casinos are legal. The sector last year had turnover of of 292.4 billion patacas (€31.1 billion euros).
This year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, concession holders have reported millions of euros in lost revenue due to border restrictions in the territory, which last year received almost 40 million visitors.


Agency : LUSA

Date : 2020-09-25 09:23:00


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