Alvin Chau Trial: Court Hears Suncity Marketed Illegal Multiplier Bets

Suncity’s marketing department was asked to promote under-the-table multiplier bets to VIP gamblers, a Macau courtroom heard Monday, as reported by Macau Business.

Alvin Chau has denied being involved in illegal multiplier betting. He is on trial with 20 other defendants at Macau’s Court of First Instance. (Image: SCMP)

That matters because Suncity’s former chairman and CEO, Alvin Chau, has denied his company had anything to do with organizing the illegal bets. Prosecutors beg to differ. They say Suncity’s under-the-table betting operations cheated Macau’s government of around HKD8.26 billion (US$1.05 billion) in tax revenue from 2013 to 2021.

Chau is on trial with 20 other Suncity employees at Macau’s Court of First Instance. The defendants are charged with illegal gambling, criminal association, fraud, and money laundering for their roles at Suncity, formerly the biggest junket operator in the world. Prosecutors have styled the company as a “criminal syndicate.”

‘Part of the Business’

Giving testimony Monday, former employee Lei Cho Ieng told the court that her superiors at the company asked the marketing department to promote multiplier betting operations. This formed part of their key performance indicators, she said. Lei worked at the department for three years.

“[Under-the-table betting] was part of the business of Suncity,” she told the court.

The operation involved the junket group surreptitiously multiplying stakes on each official bet placed at a casino by a Suncity VIP client, according to prosecutors. These bets would be settled later, tax-free.

Last week, the court heard from a former employee of Suncity’s IT department. He testified he had been part of a team that devised a computer system to log large-scale multiplier betting.

Chau Denial

Earlier in the trial, Chau told the court that multiplier betting was rife in Macau, but he was not involved in it. He said that the side-betting operation in question was organized by fellow defendant Cheong Chi Kin, who he claimed was not a Suncity employee. Cheong has admitted his role in the operation.

Five of Macau’s six casino licensees were initially complainants in the case, claiming they, too, were cheated by multiplier betting. The court ruled last week that the cases should be separated into criminal and civil proceedings.

Chau has also denied establishing online gambling operations in the Philippines that targeted Macau and the Chinese mainland. But he did acknowledge that Suncity once offered proxy betting services, although not in Macau, since the practice was banned in 2016.

Last week, in a separate trial, 36 Suncity executives and employees were handed sentences of between one year and four months to seven-and-a-half years in prison for facilitating cross-border gambling.

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