Suncity partially denies VIP room closure rumour

Junket group Suncity has partially denied a recent rumour that it was planning to close down some of its VIP rooms and lay-off the relevant staff due to the current economic downturn.

A recent online rumour posited that due to the impact in the VIP sector by the pandemic and increased regulatory oversight by Chinese central authorities, Suncity was planning to close some of its VIP rooms in March and April, including VIP clubs located in Galaxy, Rio, L’Arc and Four Seasons

In a reply to Macau News Agency, Sunicty indicated that information circulating online “is not correct” and appealed to the public to “not to believe in misinformation”.

“However, in order to effectively control operating costs, Sun City Gaming Promotion Company Limited will strategically adjust its workforce in order to be prepared for the upcoming opening of VIP clubs at the Londoners and Grand Lisboa Palace,”

Junket operators Suncity Group, Tak Chun Group and Guangdong Group, all have announced they will have a presence in the recently inaugurated Londoner property, with SJM’s Grand Lisboa Palace opening delayed to the second quarter of this year.

“Related changes are still in initial discussion and are not convenient to announce. Besides, the management emphasized that the company has no plan to lay off any staffs of VIP clubs,” the group stated in its reply.

A report from investment bank Goldman Sachs published in January pf this year had indicated that Suncity had been forced to close some of its VIP business in Macau (The Parisian), Korea and Australia due to the global downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the group waiting for a recovery to re-open the rooms.

At the time Suncity noted that most of its players find it troublesome to return to Macau due to COVID-19 testing requirements and a more complicated IVS visa process than usual in the absence of online applications.

From September 23, China’s Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) exit visa system was fully reinstated for mainland residents wishing to visit Macau as independent travellers, however, patrons are not yet allowed to apply online as in pre-pandemic times.

VIP Baccarat – which represents most VIP gaming in Macau – reported a 225 per cent rise in the last quarter of 2020 from the previous quarter, however that amount still represented a 76.4 per cent year-on-year drop.

Macau’s casino gross gaming revenue shrank by 79.3 per cent year-on-year in 2020, with a resurgence in local cases in the mainland leading to lower than expected visitation in the recent Chinese New Year period.