- Casino operators in the region must strictly observe bettors to ensure phone ban adherence
- Warning comes just days after gang caught live-streaming baccarat to gamblers
Macau’s local casino operators have found themselves under strict orders to properly observe a phone ban that was put in place for when players are gambling at game tables.
Last week, the region’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) released a statement that noted the operation of an unlawful “online proxy betting operation” and the 17 arrests – including four Macau residents and 13 residents of mainland China – that followed its detection.
Casino games live-streamed by WeChat
Operating from a casino in Cotai, Macau, this illegal operation was the second to be broken up in just three months. Commenting that it was “very attentive” to the incident, Macau’s DICJ reveal that the gang of criminals used phones to live-stream – via messaging service WeChat – the goings-on at several table games at this yet unnamed casino.
The table game action, which included the live play of baccarat games, was watched by around 50 bettors in mainland China, who were reportedly keen to play what was billed as “real baccarat games in Macau.” The illegal live-streamers are thought to have been in action for around a year, offering two or three unlawful betting sessions each day.
The group was busted after receiving a tip-off in May 2017. Upon raiding the flat in question, Macau’s Judiciary Police located and retrieved several laptops and smartphones, complete with all the gang members’ betting credentials.
Following the investigation, it has been revealed that of the gang members involved in the illegal baccarat live-streaming action, one person would do the gambling at the table while others could film and stream the game to online observers.
Is the ban being ignored?
The use of mobile phones at table games was banned in Macau in May 2016, in an attempt to put an end to operations that allow proxy betting. Following last week’s bust, the DICJ has warned Macau’s casinos to monitor the phone ban strictly, allowing no such action to take place at their gaming tables. The Bureau has also requested that any flouters of this law be immediately reported to the region’s officials.
The Chinese region, before the introduction of the phone ban at gaming tables, allowed proxy gambling in many casinos’ VIP rooms. However, when it became clear that live table gambling was becoming available to mainland bettors, officials in Beijing – where non-lottery gambling is illegal – wanted Macau to restrict this unlawful access to therefore reduce the unlawful flight of the mainland’s capital.
In a three-month operation that investigated and arrested thousands of people accused of money laundering, drug trafficking, and unlawful gambling, Macau’s police force have greatly reduced the burden of the region’s organized crime scene.
This comprehensive investigation occurs every year, but South China Morning Post has reported that, according to the Hong Kong police, 2017’s operation lasted a lot longer than usual.
But it’s not all bad; analysts report that Macau’s phone use ban has boosted the revenue for several casinos in Asia-Pacific such as the Philippines, with some estimating that proxy gambling may account for around half of the revenue generated by Manila’s VIP bettors.
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