Globally the Wynn Resorts brand is well-known in the gambling industry. Reports surfaced this week from the China News Service reports that the Wynn Macau brand and the Wynn Resorts operating arm in the Chinese Special Administrative Region was used as bait to lure investors to an online casino scam in China.
It is understood that the scam targetted potential investors through the fraudulent use of the Wynn Macau branding.
Wynn Macau was notified of the allegations through GGRAsia, which is a media outlet which focuses on Asia’s online gaming industries.
Following the news a spokesperson from Wynn Macau said:
“We are highly concerned by this recently reported incident and we have been liaising with the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.”
Further, cementing the position of the group, the spokesperson went on to explain:
“Wynn Macau does not engage in any online investment or gaming sites. We encourage the public to be extremely wary of any sites claiming to have a connection with Wynn.”
While alarms were raised, the rogue group had allegedly managed to defraud investors of more than $8 million (₹567.4 million).
Online Gambling Banned in China
It has been challenging to come across reputable sources of information surrounding details of the alleged online casino scam.
What was outlined in the China News Service reports were that police in Guiyang, the capital of the South-Western province of China had broken up an “internet scam” which was illegally marketing the protected intellectual property of “Wynn Macau”.
Although gambling is illegal throughout mainland China, Macau is the only area where online gaming is allowed – only for Macau’s domestic population.
The tight regulations of the Chinese gambling industry have led to plenty of controversies.
The GGRAsia noted that these problems are becoming increasingly common for criminals from outside and inside of mainland China preying on players and investors through the illegal use of trademarks and information of Macau casino brands.
Philippines Offshore Gaming Operators
Philippines Offshore Gaming Operators, otherwise known as POGOs, are continuing to pop up overnight, targeting Chinese players by setting up online casino hubs in the Philippines.
While the immediate effect on China is apparent, the problem runs deeper.
The POGOs struggle to connect to gamblers from China because of the difficulty to speak or translate Mandarin.
Chinese nationals are being recruited by POGOs with the draw of jobs with high pay in exchange for their service of helping to overcome the language barriers and communicate with players in Mandarin.
In October 2019, China’s President Xi Jinping and the Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte met to discuss the issues stemming from the online casinos being operated by POGOs.
While talks were understood to be along the lines of looking to disrupt the industry, President Duterte said a week later that the companies would continue operating, saying that he:
“Decided we need it [the POGOs] to benefit the interest of my country.”
President Duterte has never been far from drama, in part, due to his vocal support and sometimes extreme ‘war’ on drugs and criminals.
With his background and political success in mind, it was no surprise to see President Duterte back his nationals as the Philippines continues to gain some traction on their economic slide.