During trial Alvin Chau admits parallel betting was common in VIP rooms

2022-09-21 03:38     Comment:6

The trial of former Macau gaming junket magnate Alvin Chau Cheok Wa continued at the Court of First Instance (TJB) yesterday afternoon, during which he said that parallel betting activities were “commonplace” in VIP gambling rooms in Macau in a way that “everybody [involved] knew about it”.

During Monday’s trial of the high-profile case, a prosecutor accused Chau of having run illegal parallel betting schemes, and Chau denied the allegations, insisting that neither he nor Suncity had been involved in parallel betting schemes.

Including Chau, the high-profile case has 21 defendants. Chau is the case’s first defendant.

Chau, born in Macau in 1974, headed the now defunct junket company Suncity Group.

Suncity was one of Macau’s largest junket operators.

Chau and six of his co-defendants have been remanded in custody since November last year. He and the other 20 defendants separately face all or some of the following charges: money laundering, illicit gambling activities, serious fraud, and involvement in a criminal organisation.

According to gaming industry sources, some of the now defunct junket operators ran untaxed parallel betting (aka side betting) schemes that reduced both the government’s gaming tax receipts and the gross gaming revenues of some of Macau’s gaming concessionaires and sub-concessionaires.

During yesterday’s trial, lawyers of a number of Chau’s co-defendants questioned him about parallel betting activities in VIP gambling rooms in Macau.

Chau said that parallel betting activities were “commonplace” in VIP gambling rooms in Macau, even including those directly run by gaming concessionaires or sub-concessionaires.

Chau said he believed that parallel betting activities were carried out in most of VIP gambling rooms in Macau. “Parallel betting activities were carried out almost every day,” he said.

Chau also said that as far as he knew, parallel betting activities were already being carried out before Macau’s return to the motherland – i.e., before the establishment of the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) in December 1999.

Chau also said that normally around 10 gamblers at a time participated in parallel betting activities in various VIP rooms, but normally such gamblers did not place large bets.

Chau said that parallel betting activities were normally carried out based on verbal promises between gamblers and junkets. Chau said that when inspectors tried to enforce the law on parallel betting activities, the gamblers and junkets would falsely tell the inspectors that they were all friends. Consequently, Chau said that it was difficult for casino inspectors to accuse gamblers and junkets of having engaged in parallel betting.

Instead, Chau said that when casino inspectors believed that parallel betting activities were being carried out, they would normally go to the gaming table, question the crowd of gamblers as to whether they were engaging in parallel betting, and “disperse” the crowd, as a way of “maintaining order”.

Chau also said that “everybody [involved] had known about the existence of parallel betting schemes, but gamblers and junkets were not engaging in such activities openly”.

Meanwhile, Chau also insisted again during yesterday’s trial that he had never illegally operated online betting in Macau.

Chau also said yesterday that after obtaining approval from the authorities in 2003, he had been operating telephone betting until 2014 when Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) announced a ban on telephone betting. Chau said that Suncity “immediately” terminated telephone betting at that time, after which it transferred its telephone betting operations to the Philippines.

Chau also insisted that Suncity had never carried out promotion activities in Macau for its telephone betting businesses in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, the case’s second and third defendants, Si Tou Chi Hou and Ellute Cheung Yat Ping, both former senior executives of Suncity Group, are accused of having illegally operated telephone betting and online betting in Macau.

During yesterday’s trial, both Si Tou and Cheung denied the allegations against them, insisting that they had never been engaged in telephone betting and online betting.

The trial will continue this afternoon. 

A Correctional Services Bureau (DSC) van enters the Court of First Instance (TJB) building’s car park near Sai Van Lake before yesterday afternoon’s trial of former gaming junket magnate Alvin Chau Cheok Wa. – Photo courtesy of TDM

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