Macau Police Close Over 200 Pirated Casino Websites
Illegal online gambling sites are easy to set-up and can bring their operators a ton of money. The illegal iGaming industry is a huge problem for licensed operators as they eat into their profits. Macau – the biggest gambling hub in the world has faced an increase in illegal online gambling in recent months.
The Macau Judiciary Police recently announced that they have looked to block 237 illegal sites and will continue their crackdown on illegal iGaming operators.
The Judiciary Police has been working on shutting down these sites for some time now. Macau's Secretary for Security, Wong Sio Chak announced that the Macau government has already seen 130 of the sites blocked and removed. According to Wong, the police have analysed and investigated all of these sites and determined that they needed to be blocked or removed completely.
It's not just online websites that are being targeted. Illegal gambling websites were often being promoted via spam text messages that were sent via illegal telecom equipment. Wong announced that Macau was already seeking legislation that would ban such procedures. The Judiciary Police conducted nine operations in 2018 aimed at curbing spam text messages which resulted in 22 arrests.
One of the concerns with illegal iGaming operators was over the fact that these illegal websites pirated licensed Macau casino brands which caused a lot of concern as the licensed brand received a bad reputation stemming from these pirated illegal iGaming sites.
Going Farther Afield
The authorities in Huai'an City in Jiangsu Province, Mainland China recently shut down an online gambling ring that pirated several Macau brands. It was a family-run operation that handled $73 million in funds. The sites involved in the operation were using the ‘Grand Lisboa’ and ‘Venetian’ brands which have a major presence in Macau.
The authorities arrested 63 suspects in connection to the case, with an additional 16 being caught after they returned from visits to nearby countries. According to the local police, the heads of the gambling ring leased a house in Laos and used it as the heart of the gambling operation as well as to host these sites.
The agents in China were primarily tasked with promoting the website, to attract players and handle the wagers made by local players. Illegal gambling syndicates were already reported to be using WeChat to promote illegal gambling operations that were based out of Macau and the Philippines.
The police report indicated that the illegal gambling website had several game types, with some even being live-streamed. The platforms were very high-tech and allowed players to bet and wager with just a push of a key or a handset. The arrests were the culmination of an investigation that started in March 2018.