Suncity Group has had it rough of late. The company’s chief executive officer, Alvin Chau, was arrested in November and he was ousted shortly after as he was still awaiting the charges against him to be brought to court. Suncity Group has been caught in all sorts of trouble since then. It was named as one of the parties to operate illegally in Star Sydney in an unbranded room, even though both companies agreed that they are parting ways back in 2019.
Suncity Group was also denied a junket license in Macau and has been toppled from its role of the supreme operator in the special administrative region. Now, PAGCOR, the Philippine gaming regulator, has found consumer complaints levied against the company to be accurate, deeming it unfit to operate in the country. Based on a careful investigation by PAGCOR, Suncity Group still holds some HK$160.8 million or ($58 million) of customer money it has failed to return.
The complaints about the missing money were lodged with PAGCOR by 29 individuals who brought the regulator’s attention to the issue. PAGCOR published its report last week and made the findings known recently, which effectively agreed that the company was found "unsuitable" to hold a license. The findings applied to both Suncity and the now-former chief executive.
Suncity Group operates in the country through a subsidiary in Manila. However, the company’s VIP rooms have already begun to shut down as PAGCOR is preparing an enforcement action against any party that fails to comply. PAGCOR, though, is cognizant of the economic windfall the Philippines generates out of maintaining healthy ties with gambling behemoths.
Even beleaguered Suncity Group is a precious ally in guaranteeing the long-term sustainability of the Philippines ’ gambling industry. To this end, the regulator is offering Suncity and its subsidiary a road to redemption. Basically, Suncity will have to agree to a ream of prerequisites, including the rightful and lawful returning of player funds.
The group has objected to this because it said that it has already tried to return some of the funds, but not all customers were available. Suncity named a litany of issues on the customers’ end, including breach of pre-agreed "withdrawal policies," absence of account holders or authorized person, and others.
PAGCOR also said that Suncity would have to comply with a monitoring team that would be assigned to surveil its operations. Not least, Suncity would need to keep its own funds and player money separate to guarantee that no funds are ever lost no matter what happens to the company itself. Suncity now has a month to return all consumer funds if it wishes to retain its presence in the Philippines.
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