Hong Kong-listed Suncity Group Holdings Ltd has asserted that its casino and gambling businesses in Vietnam and Cambodia will not break Hong Kong laws, as gaming businesses pursued by a Hong Kong-listed company are legal if they are pursued outside Hong Kong. The company says its casino and other gambling businesses will, accordingly, be pursued outside Hong Kong.
“The casino and gambling business will be operated in Vietnam and Cambodia, of which both have established licensing regime[s] for gambling businesses and will be properly licensed,” the statement said.
“The group will keep liaison with the relevant government authorities in such jurisdictions and has engaged and will engage relevant Vietnam[ese] and Cambodian legal advisers to ensure its compliance with the relevant laws and regulations in such jurisdictions,” it added.
Suncity Group Holdings is chaired by Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, who controls Macau junket investor Suncity Group.
In Friday’s filing, Suncity Group Holdings said it plans to engage a reputable accounting firm to help it come up with proper internal controls, policies and procedures for prevention of serious crime and money laundering.
The company noted that it is still developing its internal controls, policies and procedures for its businesses in Vietnam and Cambodia. It will engage Vietnamese and Cambodian legal advisers that have contact with the relevant authorities in Vietnam and Cambodia in order to comply with the law, rules, regulations and government policies in those countries that are meant to counter money laundering, it added.
The company announced this month deals to set up and run a casino in a resort in Sihanoukville in Cambodia. The deals were struck by a subsidiary, Suncity Group Management and Consultancy (Sihanoukville) Ltd and the casino resort’s owner, Golden Sun Sky Entertainment Ltd.
Sihanoukville is viewed as a market that currently caters to “middle to low-end” mainland Chinese tourists, and the industry there lacks “meaningful legislation” or enforcement – meaning there is an element of risk for established gaming operators. But brokerage Union Gaming Securities Asia Ltd said the move to invest in Sihanoukville is a “capital-light approach” that does not risk Suncity’s capital.
In August, Suncity Group Holdings announced it had taken a 34-percent share in a casino scheme in the Vietnamese resort city of Hoi An. Worth about HKD600-million (US$76.4-million), the deal makes Star Admiral Ltd – a British Virgin Islands-listed company said to control the rights to the proposal with a 140-table casino and about 1,000 slot machines – a wholly-owned subsidiary.
Suncity Group Holdings reported a net loss of nearly CNY1.65 billion (US$241.8 million) for the first half of this year. The Hong Kong-listed firm does not contain the profit streams from the junket operations of the privately-held Suncity Group. The junket brand is said by investment analysts to be the largest-single investor in junket room operations in the Macau market.