Suncity vows to return irate casino high rollers’ millions stuck since pandemic began
MANILA, Philippines—The local unit of Suncity Group, the world’s largest casino junket operator, is reportedly readying cash and properties to reimburse junket players hundreds of millions of pesos in advance deposit placements made just before the coronavirus pandemic struck in 2020.
In a letter to the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), lawyers representing Suncity Group Manila Inc. director Chau Cheok Wa — also known as Alvin Chau — said “there really is difficulty in releasing the entirety of the placements at once” due to the firm’s current financial situation.
“An installment plan to complete the release of the funds in 11 months has been proposed and an option to settle by way of dacion of real properties has likewise been offered,” the letter said.
Earlier, a group of 49 casino junket players asked Pagcor to sanction Suncity for its alleged refusal to allow them to withdraw hundreds of millions of pesos in advance placements despite repeated requests for almost a year now.
Through their counsel, Ronald Aala, the group said it agreed to place their money and convert these into playing chips “on the condition that they can use or withdraw their respective placements at any time and at any location where the Suncity Group operates.”
But when the junket players decided to withdraw their deposits due to limited travel and gaming caused by the pandemic, Aala said Suncity refused to return the funds. Instead, he said the firm proposed to release a small portion of the deposits at P5-million every 20 days subject to the approval of the firm’s accounting department or board of directors.
To make matters worse, Aala said that — while his clients were constrained from withdrawing their funds — Suncity announced its plan to build and operate its own hotel and casino within the Westside City Resorts World Township in Pagcor’s Entertainment City development.
“Given these developments, one cannot help but think that the Suncity Group is purposely delaying the return of their placements to fund this project to the prejudice of my clients,” he said.
“In fact, these acts of the Suncity Group are tantamount to syndicated estafa considering that funds placed in trust, with an obligation to return the same, were misappropriated by the Suncity Group to the damage and prejudice of each of my clients,” Aala said.
He asked Pagcor to end Suncity’s scheme, ensure public protection against similar practices and ultimately penalize Suncity for allegedly defrauding his clients.
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