Asian VIP operator Suncity Group has vehemently denied it has any links to online gambling and has reserved the right to take necessary legal action after Chinese media published an article on Monday suggesting it was involved in online and proxy betting in China via offshore online casinos.
Economic Information Daily, an affiliate of state-owned news agency Xinhua, accused Suncity Group of signing up players who gambled in its junket rooms in Macau to online gaming and proxy betting services. Because debts can be settled in Renminbi, the process enables capital to be moved out of China, the article alleged.
In a Statement of Clarification sent to Inside Asian Gaming, Suncity Group said:
“Sun City Gaming Promotion Company Limited hereby declares that, under the authorization of the Macau Special Administrative Region, the Company is the legitimate institution granted with Junket Promoter License, any engagement in the junket promoting business is legalized with rightful permissions. The Company has no possession of any casino and gaming tables, neither does it operate any online gaming business.
“The junket promoting business, operated by the Company and other related companies in Macau and other geographical areas, is rigorously licensed to perform in accordance with legal requirements and the license conditions. All operations data is announced regularly through the formal official channel with no discrepancy and does not contain any false information nor misleading statements.
“Since establishment, Suncity Group has been striving to expand its business scope across the globe. The VIP gaming service, together with hotel and integrated resorts management, entertainment, global tourism, food and beverage and luxury fashion, jointly constitute as the six core businesses of Suncity Group.
“In response to the current misrepresentation and misleading reports regarding the Sun City Gaming Promotion Company Limited, the Company hereby reiterates that the relevant information could contain subjective speculation and therefore has led to reputational damages to the Company and its shareholders. The Company expresses strong condemnation and reserve the right to take necessary legal action.”
In a Tuesday note, brokerage Sanford C Bernstein observed that this was the first time it recalled seeing Chinese state media ever linking a junket operator with online gaming activities.
“It is too early to tell what ramification this article brings (if any),” Bernstein analysts said.
“The article itself could be a warning message for Suncity and maybe other online gaming/proxy betting operators to tone down excessive offshore play. Junkets may face greater scrutiny on their offshore businesses, some game play may gravitate back to Macau as players may retreat from online play and junkets may face greater scrutiny in Macau on how they interact with players (with respect to signing them up for online accounts in Macau).”
The listed arm of Suncity Group holds a 34% stake in Vietnam IR Hoiana, which is set to open in December 2019, and recently acquired 27.95% of Summit Ascent Holdings, which owns Russian integrated resort Tigre de Cristal near Vladivostok. Suncity’s junket operations are not covered by the listed company.