Illegal WeChat betting scheme busted in Macau

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The Macau Judiciary Police (PJ) have busted an illegal scheme of wager placing through WeChat in local VIP baccarat rooms, arresting seven Mainland Chinese men allegedly involved in organizing the activity, according to local media.
The men were running the operation from an apartment in the Nam Van area on the Macau Peninsula, which the police raided following a tip-off that the location was being used as an unlicensed guesthouse, according to gaming publication GGRAsia.
The operation consisted of arranging for gamblers to place bets on games taking place in one or several VIP baccarat rooms in the city, with some of the suspects actually participating in the gambling activity of those rooms, from where they would report the results of each game immediately via WeChat, according to the publication.
Business Daily made enquiries to the Judiciary Police about which casino or casinos were involved in the scheme, and if the suspects were collaborating with or had close ties to junket operators, but no response had been received by the time this story went to press.
Gamblers were also said to have been recruited in Mainland China prior to their arrival in Macau through the same social media mobile application, under a group labeled ‘Macau baccarat games live broadcast,’ according to the police, as cited by TDM.
In comments to the gaming publication, the officials said that the group was “very well organized in splitting their tasks.” While some would handle accounting via computer and control the betting of their partners in the casino, others would be responsible for collecting bets from the WeChat group members.
TDM added that the police have confirmed that all monetary transactions were run through the third-party payment platform Alipay.
During the raid, three laptops and several mobile phones containing betting records worth RMB10 million (US$1.45 million/MOP11.62 million) were apprehended by the police, which estimates that the gang had an average of 40 gamblers betting on a daily basis in the past month, according to the broadcaster.
The police also believe that the suspects collected profits by charging player commissions and by making hedging bets on baccarat game results.
The seven suspects were identified as coming from Zhejiang Province on the eastern coast of China, and are believed to have been operating the scheme for at least one month. The police have further reported that the mastermind behind the scheme is still at large.
If convicted, the suspects could face charges of formation of a criminal group and the promotion of illegal gambling.