Macau’s Judiciary Police say they arrested on Thursday a number of people allegedly involved in developing and operating illicit online gambling websites, a setup said to include the use of several servers hosted locally at a data centre rented from a Macau telecommunications firm.
The ring’s Macau efforts had allegedly been conducted under the front of an “advertising and design company”, with profits from the online gambling thought to have been at least MOP100 million (US$12.5 million) up to Thursday.
That is according to a Friday briefing to local media. Thursday’s police operation resulted in the arrest of two Macau ID holders and two people from mainland China, and the seizing – for crime investigation purposes – of potential evidence from five offices in the city’s ZAPE district, as well as from three flats in Taipa.
The briefing heard police believed those arrested had been involved in the development, operation and maintenance of several illicit online gambling websites and mobile phone applications for the same purpose.
Some of the sites were thought to have fraudulently used branding usually associated with licensed Macau gaming companies. The suspects were believed to have enabled online bets via some of those websites, as well as live casino play via video link, hosted at some locations in either Thailand or Cambodia.
The police spokespersons noted the arrests by the Judiciary Police were based on intelligence provided by police in mainland China in May this year. The alleged ringleader had been arrested in Zhuhai, prior to Thursday’s operation.
The Judiciary Police believed the illicit online gambling websites had been operating since 2016, which had enabled them to receive wagers “by the billions”, although the currency concerned was not mentioned.
The four suspects arrested in Macau had been charged for their alleged engagement in illegal gambling activities and organised crime, said the Judiciary Police spokespersons.
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Tax revenue collected by the Macau government from the city’s gaming industry in the first three months of 2021