Macau’s Illegal Syndicate Allegedly Managed $42 Billion Over 5 Years

The illegal gambling organization run by Alvin Chau, the founder of the Macau-based gambling operator Suncity Group, has come under scrutiny for its extensive operations that attracted Chinese gamblers and generated massive profits over a period of five years. According to a report by Asian Gaming Brief, the syndicate collected more than $42 billion in bets from Chinese gamblers from 2015 to 2019, organizing cross-border gambling operations through a network of agents and accumulating a profit of around $2.4 million.

The Chinese National Television CCTV has revealed the details of the syndicate’s mode of operation, shedding light on the massive amounts of money handled by the illegal online organization. Alvin Chau launched an online gambling business in the Philippines in 2015, aiming to lure customers from Mainland China. The network targeted Chinese customers with 283 syndicate agents operating across the country, enabling the organization to achieve a $42.2 billion handle during its illegal operations.

In 2021, Alvin Chau was arrested by the Macau Judiciary Police following an order for arrest from a court in Mainland China’s Wenzhou province. The Wenzhou Intermediate Court held a trial in August 2022 and designated Alvin Chau and Zhang Ningning as the leaders of the cross-border gambling syndicate. It was revealed that the syndicate used Suncity’s IT and financial infrastructure for the illegal venture, implicating Chau’s crucial role in the operation.

Judge Wang Haoze stated that Chau lured others to act as agents using commissions and dividends as bait, organizing and attracting Chinese nationals to participate in gambling in Suncity-operated gambling rooms or engage in cross-border online gambling. The operation scheme involved 283 Chinese agents who generated a total handle of $42.2 billion from 2015 to 2019, with support from a syndicate’s company established in China for the given purpose. The group used illegal shadow banks to settle gambling funds and remain invisible to authorities.

As a result, Alvin Chau was sentenced to 18 years in prison in January 2023. The case has prompted regulatory changes, with the court noting that the Suncity case directly led to Criminal Law Amendment changes, as Chinese authorities have criminalized all types of soliciting behavior to participate in cross-border gambling. This highlights the far-reaching impact of the illegal gambling organization’s activities and the consequences faced by its key figures.