Suncity Trial

Casino watchdog testifies against proof of side bets

The Suncity Group booth during the Macau Gaming Show

An audit official with the casino watchdog has testified to a court of law that there was no financial evidence proving Suncity has run side bets.

At a recent court hearing concerning Suncity’s alleged crime syndicate and money laundering practices, Wong Long Peng, head of the Compliance Audit Division of the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ), testified that her team could not find any evidence that would prove Suncity’s alleged noncompliance.

Wong told the court that Suncity should have included all income in the data surrendered to the DICJ.

On the question about whether it would be impossible to calculate the gambling tax that should have come from the alleged side bets, Wong answered: “it should be [impossible],” adding that this part of the income should be reported to the government because it is taxable. Wong further highlighted that betting records and all gross income that occurred in VIP casinos should be reported through concessionaires.

Wong also discussed the true meaning of the work “operations.” She said that she was not clear on the meaning of the word, “for the fact that it is an ordinary word, which can appear in accounts, financial reports or transaction records. It can refer to operational costs,” she explained.

In addition, Wong highlighted that during review and investigation, the team would not be “especially surprised” when seeing the word “operations.” Later, she admitted that she had not seen the word in the evidence, in addition to not having seen separate “Operation Notes” from the piles of documents.

It was very difficult to clearly state that the DICJ had discovered any “abnormalities,” Wong said. Cards and documentations within the reach of the bureau normally had “Suncity VIP Club” printed on them. “Operational Chip Deposit Note”, “Operational Chip Deposit Card” or “Accounting Card” were not seen.

Many such documentations were revisited in light of the court procedure, she disclosed. As far as she could recall, no “Operational Loan Note” was discovered. On the question of whether the DICJ had discovered operations marked as or related to “SCM Phone Betting,” she said she was certain that Suncity did not provide data related to phone betting or data using that phrase. “Seeing ‘phone betting’ is concerning,” she said.

Prosecutor Lai U Hou asked if any references to online betting, phone betting or side betting were seen on the samples of documentations inspected or reviewed by the DICJ. Wong said that generally speaking, there were not any.

In recent years, the government has conducted regular reviews on the accounts, finances, incomes and expenditures of intermediaries. Wong said that the DICJ did not find major discrepancies between figures reported by intermediaries and concessionaires. Meanwhile, the DICJ has had no authority over intermediaries’ non-local businesses.

She further pointed out that gambling tables are held by concessionaires. The DICJ obtained data of VIP casinos through concessionaires, including but not limited to rolling.

In response to allegations that Suncity had deleted any references to side bets from its computer system, Wong said that the DICJ had both reviewed financial reports and cross-referenced the figures with existing inventories. Since the cross-reference was conducted under the supervision and with the help of Suncity staff members, she suggested that the DICJ would not be aware of any concealed data.

On the entirety of the data surrendered to the DICJ, Wong reiterated that no third-party information can help prove the completeness of the data, although detailed records should be kept pursuant to anti-money laundering guidelines.

The prosecutor revealed to the court that another investigation had been opened with regards to allegations over phone and electronic betting.

Three other DICJ inspectors who testified to the court this afternoon denied being aware of any side betting occurring in casinos in Macau.

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