- Illegal betting ring targeted high stakes baccarat tables using social media app WeChat
- Gang made $150,000 profits in one month
Macau police have arrested seven Chinese gamblers who were allegedly using the Chinese social message app WeChat to profit from high stakes baccarat.
According to information released by the Macau Judiciary police, the gang facilitated bets by gamblers in mainland China on baccarat games in Macau, using WeChat to arrange the exchange of money and to communicate the results. At a press briefing, a spokesperson for the police revealed that they believed the gang had as many as 40 regular customers and had handled bets worth around $1.66 million in the month prior to their arrest.
WeChat has recently clamped down on users abusing its Hongbao facility, which enables the transfer of virtual credits, and which has been turned into a virtual betting exchange by a number of the app’s 700 million users.
The Macau police described the activities of the gambling ring as extremely well-organized. Two or three individuals sat at the baccarat tables and reported the results of each game via WeChat. Gamblers on the Chinese mainland were then given around a minute to place their bets, with no apparent upper limit on the amounts that could be wagered.
The group profited by charging commission and by making their own hedging bets, and their activities may have earned them as much as $150,000 profit in one month.
The betting ring was discovered as a result of a police raid on a flat in Macau, which was originally thought to be an illegal guesthouse. Evidence found in the flat suggested it was being used for illegal gambling and a computer was seized which contained betting records. The seven men who were arrested all came from Zhejiang province, and police said there was no evidence of collaboration between the gang and Macau casinos.
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