Four Macau Casino Operators Want Combined $16.8m in Illegal VIP Gambling Trial

  • Former chairman of Tak Chun Group Levo Chan is one of the defendants on trial
  • MGM China, SJM Resorts, The Venetian Macau, and the Wynn Macau are seeking damages
  • Witnesses claim to have observed under-the-table betting at Tak Chun VIP rooms
  • The prosecutor is also leading the battle against the former Suncity Group chairman Alvin Chau
Macau skyline
Four Macau casino operators are seeking damages totaling $16.8m as part of an illegal VIP gambling case. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Lost revenue

Four casino operators in Macau are seeking damages totaling MOP$135m (US$16.8m) from the defendants in a major illegal VIP gambling case.

Former chairman of Tak Chun Group Levo Chan is currently on trial, alongside nine other defendants. MGM China, SJM Resorts, The Venetian Macau, and the Wynn Macau are all seeking the multimillion-dollar payout in damages. They believe that they lost out on significant revenue due to Tak Chun allegedly facilitating illicit gambling in its VIP rooms.

SJM is looking for MOP$35.65m (US$4.4m)

The Wynn Macau and The Venetian are both seeking about MOP$48.25m (US$6m), while SJM is looking for MOP$35.65m (US$4.4m), and MGM is seeking MOP$3.8m (US$477,000). The Macau government is also looking for damages worth MOP$575m (US$72m) as it believes it has lost out on significant tax revenue.

A major operation

Authorities originally arrested Chan in January and his trial is set to continue on Monday next week.

Facing charges relating to loan sharking, fraud, illegal gambling, and criminal association, Chan did not answer most questions during his initial hearing. He just confirmed his identity and the fact that he earned approximately HK$300,000 (US$37,500) per month through his role in Tak Chun. The only offense on his criminal record related to the theft of a car when he was a teenager.

claims those involved in facilitating the illegal betting made at least HK$1.5bn (US$193m)

The prosecution claims those involved in facilitating the illegal betting made at least HK$1.5bn (US$193m) through their actions over a six-year period. Total chips turned over through the operation were estimated to be at least HK$35bn (US$4.5bn).

Witnesses claim to have seen under-the-table wagers taken in Tak Chun VIP rooms without alleging any direct involvement from company employees. The court has seen documents given to Tak Chun employees mentioning proxy bets and under-the-table wagers. A mobile app also supposedly allowed players to place proxy bets.

Cracking down on illegal gambling

Macau authorities have cracked down on illegal gambling recently, with a particular focus on junket operators catering to VIPs. The prosecutor in the Tak Chun case is the same one leading the legal battle against the former chairman of Suncity Group Alvin Chau.

Six casino companies operate in Macau. Each of these companies recently received a license renewal for another ten years.

Stricter rules have now come into place in the region relating to the level of oversight on casinos.