The arrest of Macau’s junket mogul

The arrest of Macau's junket mogul

The arrest of Macau’s “junket mogul” is expected to shrink business in the world’s largest gambling hub, with authorities in China underlining their intent to crack down on what they see as a dangerous outflow of funds from the mainland.

Alvin Chau, the CEO of gambling group Suncity Group Holdings Ltd (1383.HK), is the founder of the biggest of Macau’s junket operators – outfits that bring in high rollers to play at casinos.

He was arrested on Sunday by Macau authorities over alleged links to cross-border gambling. A warrant for his arrest has also been issued in China.

Analysts say his arrest heralds a new era of zero tolerance towards the promotion of gambling in China, where all forms of gambling are illegal.

It has also dealt a blow to the junket industry that will further erode Macau’s reliance on high rollers and accelerate a shift to the mass market.

The crackdown on Suncity has direct implications for casino marketing staff, who promote Macau gambling to clients in mainland China.

“After this, now they know that arranging players to come to Macau, promoting gambling in China, even if it’s a phone call in China, could land them in hot soup,” said Ben Lee, founder of Macau gaming consultancy IGamiX.

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