Sands China has issued a statement distancing itself from an online gambling site based out of Guangdong Province and using the “Sands Macao” name.
The statement follows a press release from the Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department published last week in which it outlined the results of a recent crackdown on cross-border gambling and named two large groups it continues to pursue, including one calling itself “Sands Macao”.
According to the Department, Guangdong province’s public security authorities have investigated and handled 966 cross-border gambling cases, arrested 1,034 suspects, destroyed 836 online gambling platforms and eliminated illegal payment platforms since China launched its crackdown last year. It also said it has seized a large volume of finds from more than 200 underground banks, 60 illegal technical service teams and 70 gambling promotion platforms.
However, the Department said it continues to pursue the two groups, including one it refers to as the “Sands Macao” case. The “Sands” cross-border online gambling group is alleged to have recruited Chinese citizens overseas to engage in online gambling game development, customer service operation and maintenance activities, the Department said, while recruiting Chinese citizens to engage in criminal gambling activities through online and offline forms.
“At present, Guangdong public security organs have arrested many people involved in the case, but there are still some criminal suspects at large,” it said.
Sands China has responded with a statement of its own this week in which it noted that the criminal group “is not affiliated in any way” with its Sands Macao property on the Macau peninsula, or with the company as a whole.
“Sands Online Gambling Corp is using our company’s property name and trademarks without our permission and in breach of the law,” Sands China said.
“Sands China Ltd does not engage in online gambling activities of any kind and vigorously pursues all reports of trademark infringement.
“All websites purporting to offer online gaming and using our brands are fake and should be reported to the relevant authorities immediately.”
The Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department last week urged those involved to surrender by 30 April, pointing to comments from China’s Ministry of Public Security earlier this year promising leniency to any suspects who turned themselves in.
“Public security organs will severely punish those who refuse to surrender and continue to engage in cross-border gambling and related illegal and criminal activities,” it said.
China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism last year announced that it had established a “blacklist” of overseas tourist destinations it said were attracting Chinese tourists for gambling activities.