Asia round-up: Chau indicted; Genting Malaysia Q1 & Marina Bay Sands

By Louis Thompsett

Alvin Chau formally charged with illegal gambling and money laundering 

The former boss of the junket Suncity Group has been officially indicated by Macau’s Public Prosecution Office (PPO). 

The PPO has found Chau guilty of founding and operating a “secret association or society” which illicitly exploited Macau’s gambling industry and laundered money. 

Chau was arrested alongside 21 associates in late November 2021, and the Suncity Group which Chau led has been in turmoil ever since. 

Not only had the well-known junket masked Chau’s illegal offshore gambling activities, but as part of a revamp to gambling laws Macau’s Legislative Assembly plans to phase out independently operated junkets in the coming years. 

This has led to a string of junkets going out of business, while several others have seen their stock fall dramatically as they scramble to stabilise liquidity. 

This has been further compounded by persistent Covid-19 restrictions which continue to plague Macau and its surrounding provinces, financially damaging casinos and other associated businesses.   

Under Macau’s Organised Crime Law, anyone affiliated with secret syndicates to obtain an illicit advantage is effectively demonstrating an agreement to commit several criminal offences. 

And Chau, as a director of such an organisation, could face between 8 to 15 years in prison as a result.

Chau’s cross-border syndicate worked by setting up overseas gambling platforms to leverage his junket operations in Macau, inviting residents from China’s mainland to engage in illegal online gambling activities.  

The ex-Suncity Group leader stepped down soon after his initial arrest, and recently, Andrew Lo Kai Bong was appointed active CEO of Suncity Group and its partner company, Summit Ascent. 

Genting Malaysia Q1 revenue up 176% to MYR1.72bn 

Casino operator Genting Malaysia has recorded Q1 2022 revenue of MYR1.72bn ($391.3m), up 176% from the same period last year. 

Genting Malaysia also registered adjusted EBITDA of MYR414.4m for Q1, compared to negative MYR110.4m in Q1 2021. 

Furthermore, the casino operator’s net loss narrowed by 71% to MYR147.9m, while pre-tax losses narrowed even further by 79% compared with the prior-year period. 

Genting Malaysia’s flagship casino in Malaysia, Resorts World Genting, posted revenue of MYR920m this quarter from hospitality and leisure, a figure more than triple what the casino made in Q1 last year.  

“The PPO has found Chau, alongside other associates of Suncity Group, guilty of founding and operating a “secret association or society” which illicitly exploited Macau’s gambling industry and laundered money”

The operator attributes its vastly improved performance to eased Covid-19 related restrictions which plagued most of Malaysia throughout most of 2021. 

The group also claims its narrowed EBITDA margins were helped by higher debt recovery.  

Genting Malaysia expects Malaysia’s tourism industry to continue a “gradual” recovery as Covid restrictions continue to ease and optimism improves around the country’s hospitality and leisure industries. 

Genting Malaysia operates across a number of international markets, including the UK, Egypt, the USA and the Bahamas.  

Revenue from the UK and Egypt reached MYR395.3m for the latest quarter, while revenue from the US and the Bahamas grew 40% year-on-year to MYR357.9m. 

On its Q1 figures from New York, the firm said: “These improvements were mainly driven by the strong operating performance registered at Resorts World New York City, as facilities in New York state continued to operate without mandated Covid-19 restrictions.” 

Marina Bay Sands to launch two-day recruitment fair for its 2,000 vacancies 

Marina Bay Sands has announced it will hold its first walk-in recruitment fair since the Covid-19 pandemic began in 2020. 

The casino claims it has undertaken its recruitment drive to hire talent for over 2,000 vacant roles at the Singaporean casino.  

The fair will be held from 30 May to 31 May 2022 at the Sands Expo & Convention Centre, providing job seekers the chance to participate in on-site interviews and interactive games organised by over 15 hiring departments. 

These departments include Food & Beverage, Banquets and Nightlife divisions, Hotel Operations, Casino Operations, Mall Management, Musem and Public Area Maintenance sections of the casino.

Marina Bay Sands’ Senior Vice President for Human Resources, Chan Yit Foon, said: “As a long-term employer, Marina Bay Sands continues to invest not only in our infrastructure but also in building a sustainable workforce for the future.  

“We welcome passionate individuals to join us, whether they are seeking a mid-career switch, a student, or a homemaker looking to return to the workforce, as training opportunities are aplenty at Marina Bay Sands.” 

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