The trial of Alvin Chau continued on Tuesday afternoon, with the former Suncity Group CEO claiming that, “to my knowledge, all the VIP halls and the halls of the concessionaires in Macau had betting under the table.”
Also known as side betting, betting under the table refers to a practice where VIP players reach an arrangement with junket operators to place much larger bets on each hand than what is represented by the chips on the table.
When asked about this on Tuesday, Chau said, “We found out there was betting under the table and that it was happening in all the VIP halls and the halls of the concessionaires in Macau. Usually when a customer was betting under the table, there would be many people around him.”
He added, “There would be law enforcement officers who would come to the scene to evict customers or ask them if they were involved in betting under the table, but betting under the table is a promise made verbally between the gambler and the junket. Whether the verbal promise is a cash transaction or not, whether it is legal or not, I am not a legal person and cannot answer that.”
However, Chau insisted, “I am not involved in gambling (with customers), and I am not familiar with gambling,” stressing that he only ran a junket.
He was also asked by the lawyer whether there were guidelines from the DICJ that gamblers should not participate in betting under the table, and he pointed out that he had not seen any such guidelines.
Chau has also been charged with running illegal online gambling operations, with the prosecution asking about proxy betting during Tuesday’s trial. Proxy betting was banned in Macau in 2014.
The former Suncity CEO insisted that he did not run any proxy betting services out of Macau but admitted to doing so in the Philippines, where the practice is permitted, as an agency.
“Suncity has always been a global agency service, not running its own casino, but using the phone to help customers place bets,” he said.
The second defendant in the trial of 21 people, Si Tou Chi Hou, has been charged with running a criminal syndicate and illegal gambling. He reiterated in court that he was not involved in any online gambling matters, was not a member of Universal e-City – the entity said to have been Suncity’s online gambling platform – and had no right to use any funds from his Suncity account.
“I only assisted in the communication between Suncity Group and Universal e-City, and the relationship between Sun City and Universal e-City was a friendly and cooperative one,” he said.
During his testimony, Si repeatedly read out the number of the evidence in question to respond the prosecutor’s questions, prompting the judge to ask, “Did you bring any notes with you?” Si replied, “I didn’t bring any information with me, I relied on my memory.”
The evidence in this case is over 10,000 pages long.
Chau was one of 11 people arrested by Macau’s Judiciary Police and one of six subsequently transferred to Coloane Prison to await trial in late November 2021. Suncity officially announced the cessation of its junket business in early December, while Chau also stepped down as Chairman of the listed company of the same name, Suncity Group, which holds significant interests in integrated resort developments in Vietnam, Russia and the Philippines.