The CEO of a Macau-based gambling company was arrested Sunday on illegal gambling charges.
According to a Reuters report, Suncity Group Holding Ltd CEO Alvin Chau was taken into custody by Macau police on charges of using Macau as a base for an illegal “live web betting platform” in the Philippines. Authorities from the mainland arrested Chau and 10 others in the former Portuguese colony.
Suncity acts as a junket, which is a group that helps attract high rollers to Macau casinos. They act similar to a casino host in the U.S., where the junket will offer free accommodation and travel to help lure VIP gamblers to the tables. Suncity is one of the largest junket operators in Macau.
The Chinese government has been concerned with the flow of capital out of the country through offshore gambling for quite some time. According to government officials, the investigation into Chau’s alleged operation was in motion for two years prior to the arrest.
“Out of those that go overseas to gamble, some bet enormous amounts, causing a huge outflow of funds,” Miao Shengming, one of China’s top prosecutors told Reuters.
Losing cash to other countries was one of the main reasons China was recently looking into implementing stringent regulations on Macau’s casino industry. One of the proposed regulations included having government officials involved in the day-to-day operations of every casino to ensure a single cent isn’t left unaccounted for.
Since the start of 2018, 255,850 people have been convicted of gambling crimes in China. As a result of Chau’s arrest, Suncity’s stock price dropped nearly 40% on Monday.