Junket King Chau sentenced to 18 years in jail, ordered to pay $1.11bn
Macau’s “Junket King,” the ex-Chairman of Suncity Group Alvin Chau, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of over 100 charges related to organised crime and illegal gambling.
Chau’s guilty findings extend to the operations of an illegal gambling syndicate, fraud and tax evasion. Despite being charged, Chau was not convicted of money laundering.
Alongside his prison term, Chau and six of his associates have been ordered to pay HK$8.67bn (US$1.11bn) to Macau’s Government and several of its casino operators.
This includes a total of HK$559.1m to Galaxy Entertainment, HK$349m to MGM China, HK$295m to Sands China, HK$178.2m to SJM Holdings and HK$770.1m to Wynn Macau.
Singapore expects visitation to double in 2023 from 6.3 million
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) expects its visitor arrival to double in 2023, from the 6.3 million tourists who landed in the country in 2022.
The 6.3 million incoming travellers exceeded the STB’s initial prediction for between 4 and 6 million tourists to arrive at Singapore’s airports.
Tourism receipts for the full-year 2022 are estimated to reach between $13.8bn and $14.3bn, only around 50% of what was generated pre-pandemic, in 2019.
However, the STB not only forecasts significant growth for 2023 but expects tourism activity to fully recover to pre-pandemic levels in 2024.
Thailand approves proposal for establishing integrated resorts
Thailand’s House of Representatives has approved a bill submitted for the establishment of integrated resorts.
As reported by Gambling Insider last week, proposals had been made to launch several casino locations across the country, including in Bangkok and the Eastern Economic Corridor, which includes the Pattaya and Rayong regions.
The proposals called for a cap of 5% on gambling space, with resorts set to feature five-star hotels, amusement parks, sports stadiums and even zoos as part of their customer experience.
Light & Wonder President Robert Parente named President of AGEM
The Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM) has named Light & Wonder President Robert Parente its new President.
Elected to the role for the next two years, Parente succeeds David Lucchese, EVP of Sales for Marketing and Digital at Everi, who led the organisation through a “challenging” two years dominated by Covid-19.
The AGEM is a not-for-profit international trade organisation that represents manufacturers of electronic table games, lotteries, systems and iGaming content.
Saipan casino regulator forced to close
The casino regulator of the largest Northern Mariana Island in the west Pacific, Saipan, has been forced to shut down due to a lack of funding.
Called the Commonwealth Casino Commission, the regulator was forced to shut down its office following an order from the local government.
According to local reports, a newly elected governor, Arnold Palacios, ordered the regulator to close due to the dire financial situation in Saipan.
The Commonwealth Casino Commission is usually funded by $3.2m in annual regulatory fees from the island’s casino operator Imperial Pacific International.
But Imperial Pacific International hasn’t held a gaming licence since April 2021, losing it after failing to make a regulatory payment since 2019.