Junket operative Suncity Group had expected that it could be taken into account for a gaming license in Macau if the city resolved to issue additional licenses in the year 2022. That’s when the present considerations expire, and there have been discussions that another one or two licenses could perhaps be authorized. However, recent allegations that the company has been engaged in online gambling could totally jeopardize whatever opportunity it might have at acquiring a license for itself.
GGRAsia reports that it has obtained numerous well-placed views concerning the approaching concession tender and any role Suncity might have in the activity. When Chinese media channel Xinhua make public a story earlier this week that the company had been encouraging online gaming and proxy gambling outside of China, those ambitions abruptly came to a grinding stop.
According to Wang Changbin, the director of the Gaming Teaching and Research Center at Macao Polytechnic Institute,
“For sure, the company’s chances to be a Macau casino license bidder would be altered, as the media allegations create a bad and unfavorable record.”
He further added that “Online gaming and promotion of gaming are criminal offenses in mainland China, and the government is alert of its negative impact on the mainland’s economy and is concerned about how it could end in capital loss.”
His position was seconded by Global Market Advisors LLC’s own Brendan Bussmann. He claims that the media revelation could injury the company’s plans for a concession, expounding that license applicants’ “existing and historical activities in other markets whether that be from a land-based or even online perspective” play a vital role in the choice-making process. He further stated that “Since Macau opened up casinos beyond the initial monopoly, the central government has given several warnings against activities its views are not aligned with the social-economic structure.”
Gambling in China
Gambling in China is officially illegal under Chinese law. In practice, however, Chinese people can participate in state-run lotteries and engage in legal gambling in the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau, whose legal systems resemble those of European countries which formerly administered those regions.
However, illegal gambling is very prevalent in mainland China, and the government has taken several severe measures against it. In June of 2018, the Chinese Government banned all online poker applications. Application stores removed all poker related applications, and the promotion of poker generally via all social media channels in China (Wechat, Weibo) were forbidden.
Suncity has refused all of the accusations, claiming that it has never been involved in any way with either online gambling or proxy. It said in a report delivered earlier this week that, “The Company has no ownership of any gaming tables and casino, neither does it run any online gaming dealings.”
However, it would appear that just the ordinary suggestion that it could have been involved is enough to keep it out of the game. Perhaps that was the intent all along.