Casino junket operator SunCity Group is in hot water with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) for reportedly trying “to pull a fast one” on the regulator.
According to a Philippine Daily Inquirer report, the Macau casino junket operator appeared to have taken over the operations of a small casino in the Sofitel Philippine Plaza, a luxury resort hotel located in Manila, from a firm called Success Vine Holdings.
Success Vine Holdings has secured a three-year PAGCOR license in August 2014 to conduct junket operations and run the Sofitel casino, which is described in the report as “a relatively small operation.”
However, the state regulator has gotten word—from its own people—that SunCity hosted “a nice little launch party” for the Sofitel casino several weeks ago. A number of PAGCOR representatives were invited to the event, who, in turn, reported to their superiors about the alleged “blessing and soft opening of the relaunched facility.”
In response, PAGCOR chair Andrea Domingo has reportedly sent a letter to Success Vine, telling the operator that it could lose its license for “bringing in SunCity into the picture.” PAGCOR licenses, by law, cannot be transferred to another party with the permission from the regulator.
“SunCity is not licensed by PAGCOR to conduct junket operations at Sofitel Philippine Plaza,” Domingo said, according to the news outlet.
The Sofitel facility was “immediately shut down” several days after its soft launch.
SunCity has a major presence in the Philippines, including deals with Manila casinos as well as its Philippine-licensed online gambling operations. But sources told CalvinAyre.com early this year that the Macau casino junket operator has laid off a sizable portion of its Manila-based online gambling staff. The sources also claimed SunCity planned to shift some online staff to its London office while the management team would be based on the Isle of Man, leaving only a skeleton crew behind in Manila.