Chairman of the Macau Gaming Information Association, Mr Charlie Choi, has been sentenced to six months in prison with two years’ probation after being found guilty of violating Macau’s privacy laws and failing to comply with an order from the Judiciary Police to delete the information of indebted gamblers from the “Wonderful World” website.
The court heard testimony from Lai Wen Qu – the nephew of Yuanhua Group owner Lai Changxing – that Mr Choi had told him in a telephone conversation that he had uploaded data onto the website. It also found that the website address matched that of his gaming company, which Mr Choi insists is a coincidence.
It follows a similar case in 2013 in which Mr Choi was charged for publishing the personal information of players who had failed to repay gambling debts on Wonderful World and a subsequent police order to delete all related information from the website in 2014.
Speaking to Inside Asian Gaming on Tuesday night, Mr Choi denied the allegations, insisting he is not the owner of Wonderful World and is therefore unable to shut it down.
He also expressed disappointment at the ruling, claiming it will encourage players to take out excessive credit and that it was unfair he should be punished while indebted gamblers walk away despite being guilty of fraud.
Mr Choi said Macau’s gaming regulatory body, the DICJ, should follow the lead of The Supreme People’s Court in China by making the information of those who fail to repay debts public, adding that it should establish a centralized system to monitor borrowers with excessive debts and possibly ban them from Macau casinos.
It follows a similar call from the MGIA last year to set up an official “default risk database” or blacklist of players to allow junket operators to better identify those with a poor history of repaying debt, with the DICJ stating at the time that it would look into the legality of such a possibility. At present, Macau’s Personal Data Protection Law prohibits the public distribution of such information.
Mr Choi promised to appeal the decision.