An illegal online gambling enterprise run by Chinese nationals has been busted in Vietnam, thanks to some members of the public who tipped the police. The online gambling business not only operated illegally but also committed fraud by using the name of another proprietor so as to increase traffic its betting sites.
According to a report by Xinhua, a media station run by the state, the bust was carried out by the Vietnam law enforcement officers in cooperation with the officials from the China Ministry of Public Security and the Zhuhai Police Department.
Nearly 400 individuals were arrested in Haiphong City in relation to the illicit business, which is suspected to be worth not less than $437 million. It is alleged the business was begun by a group of five persons in Shenzhen in 2017. The following year, the group relocated to Vietnam where it has been recruiting people to join its illicit trade.
Recent news shared by one writer at the Casino.org is that the business was well organized in that, the operators were divided into 21 groups, each group with its own responsibility. To enable their operations to run smoothly, they had taken control of about 10 buildings in Haiphong City. They had a total of 187 betting sites, some of which used the name Grand Lisbao Macau.
It is suspected that Vietnam citizens were involved in the illicit business, though a breakdown of the arrests made was not included in the Xinhua report. Grand Lisbao Macau is a famous gaming venue located in Macau. It is operated by Stanley Ho’s Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (SJM). Being that it is a household brand, it is probably the reason the criminals used the name in eight of its illegal betting sites.
It is not the first time criminals are using the prestigious names of Macau gaming venues to lie to unsuspecting bettors. Earlier in the month, Casino.org had reported that a group of criminals had been running an online betting site using the name Wynn Macau.
The criminals managed to milk $8 million from 200 unsuspecting bettors. After the report was released and shared out, Wynn Macau issued a statement saying it does not operate any online betting site in Peninsula, which seems like an obvious strategy to evade the accusation. They warned their customers to be very wary of such fraudulent activities.
The news of criminals exploiting the SJM property name could not have come at a worse time. Investors in the gaming industry have been growing optimistic about the year 2020. Analysts, on the other hand, have also sored the hopes of the industry. They predict that the gross revenue from gaming venues in Macau will rebound in the second half of the year. This is after SJM stocks went up by 17 percent in the first two weeks of the year, causing JPMorgan to raise its rating from a mere neutral to overweight. Analysts believe there is still room for the stocks to rise even further.