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DICJ warns operators not to run online, phone gambling

Mainland-based Economic Information Daily reported that local junket operator Suncity “has raked in billions of [US] dollars in online gaming and proxy betting, causing great harm to [mainland] China social economic order.”

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:47 am

The Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) warned local gaming operators on Tuesday not to run online gambling and also not to place bets via telephone through local casinos.

The unusually strongly worded warning was issued, according to a DICJ statement, after a state media report about an online platform run by a local junket operator for gambling outside Macau.

While the DICJ statement did not name the operator, Reuters reported on Tuesday that according to a report earlier this week by the mainland-based Economic Information Daily, local junket operator Suncity “has raked in billions of [US] dollars in online gaming and proxy betting, causing great harm to [mainland] China social economic order.”

The highly-respected newspaper is affiliated to Xinhua, the central government’s main news agency.

According to the report cited by Reuters, “Suncity enabled [mainland] Chinese players to bet through online casinos in the Philippines and Cambodia and utilised underground banks to move capital out of the [mainland].”

1 trillion yuan

The report also said, quoting the Economic Information Daily that “the annual amount bet through online gambling on the mainland is more than 1 trillion yuan, equivalent to nearly twice the annual income of [mainland] China’s lottery.

According to Tuesday’s DICJ statement, the local government’s gaming inspectorate held separate meetings with senior representatives of Macau’s gaming concessionaires and sub-concessionaires as well as representatives of junket operator associations in order to warn them that they must supervise the junket operators working with them, namely concerning the need to obey all legal norms.

The statement quoted DICJ Director Paulo Martins Chan as underlining that any activity related to online gambling in Macau would violate the law. Chan reaffirmed that the Macau government does not allow any kind of online gambling or the placing of bets by telephone, as well as other related activities, through local casinos.

‘Rigorous supervision’

The inspectorate, according to the statement, warned Macau’s three gaming concessionaires and three sub-concessionaires to ensure the “rigorous” supervision of the junket operators officially working with them in order to prevent the “improper exploitation” of casinos in Macau for the promotion of online gambling and the placing of bets by telephone.
The statement urged all casino operators to inform the inspectorate of any suspected illegal online and phone gambling activities and also to remind their junket operators of their duty to strictly comply with all legal norms.

According to the statement, the gaming sector’s representatives who attended Tuesday’s meeting said they were fully aware of the fact that online gambling in Macau is illegal.

Suitability issue

The statement underlined that any breach of the law by junket operators in Macau, even if the breach occurs outside Macau, “can have implications for the suitability of the junket operators.”

According to the statement, representatives of the junket operator association promised during Tuesday’s meeting they will ensure that their members are fully aware of the need that all their business activities are in line with all legal norms.

Suncity denial

According to the Macau Post Daily, Suncity said in a paid advertisement published in the Chinese-language Macao Daily News on Tuesday that it didn’t run any online gaming business. The company founded by junket operator Alvin Chau Cheok Wa also said that all its local and overseas junket and gaming business were legal in each of the jurisdictions where it is present.

The advertisement also said that a “false” news report about the company, the content and data of which were “mostly subjective, imagined and based on hearsay”, had seriously damaged the reputation of Suncity and its shareholders.

“The company strongly condemns [the report by the Economic Information Daily] and reserves the right to take the necessary legal action,” the half-page advertisement said.

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:47 am

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