Macau’s casino shares drop after illegal gambling arrests

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Macau casino operator shares have dropped after 11 police officers arrested them for money-laundering, illegal cross-border gambling and other related charges.

The announcement comes just as the authorities said that they had previously been questioning Alvin Chau, an important figure from the gaming industry.

Chinese state media reported that Mr Chau had been accused of running a gambling syndicate across the border.

Gambling in casinos is legal in China, but illegal in Macau.

Although it is unclear if Chau was arrested, the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong reported that Chau had been identified by police as being a Macau-based businessman.

Suncity Group Holdings’ chairman is Mr Chau. Suncity, Macau’s largest “junket operator”, organizes trips to Asian casino for rich gamblers.

Suncity Group’s shares were stopped from trading at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKSX) Monday. BBC asked for comments but the company didn’t immediately reply.

MGM China lost 10%, Wynn Macau lost 8%, and Sands China lost more than 66%.

The Global Times identified Mr Chau, the leader of an international gambling criminal syndicate that has more than 12,000 agents and 80,000 members throughout China.

He is also the controlling shareholder in Hong Kong’s Sun Entertainment Group. This film production and cremation service company, listed in Hong Kong, said that it had received news coverage regarding investigations in Wenzhou, Macau, in its stock exchange filing.

According to the statement, “The Board considers that the incident will not have any significant impact on the Group’s financial position, operations or business,”

Sun Entertainment Group shares dropped by 30% Monday afternoon.

  • Macau Casinos lose streak because of crackdown fears

In recent months, Macau’s casino operations have been under greater scrutiny as authorities seek to closely monitor them.

Lei Wai Ng, the city secretary of economy and finance, issued a notice in September advising of a period of consultation for the operators of gambling, to point out the problems with the sector’s supervision.

A news conference was held by Mr Lei, who described nine areas of consultation. They included better regulation, supervision and oversight for day-today casino operations.

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