Four people have been arrested in Macau for alleged involvement in running cross-border casinos in Southeast Asia and maintaining online gambling platforms, believed to have generated profits of at least MOP$100 million (US$12.5 million).
According to Macau’s Judiciary Police (PJ), which revealed details of the case on Friday, the suspects had put together a family-style online betting syndicate based in Macau and mainland China. Authorities in Zhuhai learned earlier this year that some of the group’s operations were run out of Macau and provided the PJ with details.
The PJ then arrested three locals and one mainland resident last Wednesday at offices and apartments in Nape and Taipa respectively. The three locals were family members of the syndicate leader, who was arrested in Zhuhai in May.
The group had allegedly been running an online gambling businesses since 2016, including live streaming gaming activities in Thailand, the Philippines, Cambodia and other countries in Southeast Asia. The PJ said betting turnover had reached several billion patacas.
It was found that the group had run a digital internet center in Macau that included at least 10 servers and provided for at least 40 online gaming websites. It also participated in developing online gaming websites and applications for mobile phones. The group had attempted to cover its tracks by masquerading as several technology and advertising companies in Macau and Zhuhai.
The PJ also believes the group had assisted other criminal syndicates in Southeast Asian countries, such as Thailand and Cambodia, in setting up gambling websites. It alleges the group provided daily maintenance services for several illegal gambling websites, including those impersonating Macau gaming operators.
Macau concessionaires Galaxy Entertainment Group (GEG), Wynn Macau Ltd and SJM Holdings have all been forced to issue public warnings this year against fraudulent online gambling websites falsely using their company names.
In September, GEG published a statement which read, “GEG and all of its properties (including Galaxy Macau, Broadway Macau, and StarWorld Hotel), have no affiliations with any online gambling and betting sites, nor have we directly or indirectly authorized any websites and/or related companies to carry out any form of online gambling and betting activities for and on behalf of us.”