China — Gambling Industry News Weekly Round-up for May 05, 2017

News from China

Chinese Investigators Hand Crown Dockets Over To Prosecutors

Three Aussie nationals remain in detention after more than a year

Early reports from China are that the dockets for 18 Crown Resorts employees – including three Australian nationals from the company’s VIP marketing team – have been delivered to the district prosecutor in Shanghai’s Baoshan District People’s Procurate.

The Crown employees, swept up in an anti-illegal gambling operation over six months ago by Chinese authorities, remain in detention.

According to Chinese judicial observers, there are two positive aspects to the delivery of the dockets for prosecution:

* It indicates that investigations are complete and the matter may now go to trial and hopefully finalisation.

* The fact that the case has been assigned to a district level court is possibly an indication that criminal charges may be limited or less severe from a punishment angle.

Earlier this year the Daily Telegraph newspaper in Australia published an article that claims to show how the “whales” marketing in China was carried out – it’s an interesting read, although Crown has not commented.

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/business/companies/inside-crowns-china-bust-and-how-australian-jason-oconnor-was-arrested/news-story/27fdbd16311128caa74a8276d9aa322c

China’s High Rollers Proxy Betting In The Philippines

Create AML concerns

An interesting report from Bloomberg highlights a shift in high roller behavior following the Chinese Government’s clamp down on junket operators and proxy betting in neighboring Macau.

Bloomberg observes 85 percent in VIP revenues are now gleaned through betting by proxy in the Philippine casino VIP rooms, mainly conducted through junket operators.  A form of gambling that is illegal in Singapore, Australia and, most recently, Macau.

Chinese speaking casino staff in select Philippine casino VIP rooms, seated at casino tables with headsets and under video surveillance, are placing bets by proxy for international clients, many of whom are reportedly from China.

“There’s been a huge upswing in players using proxy betting,” Shaun McCamley, Bangkok-based partner at gaming consultancy Global Market Advisors told Bloomberg.  “A customer can sit in an office in downtown Shanghai, call associates of a casino, tell them to place bets and watch it in real time.”

Detractors have highlighted the increased risks of money laundering citing the anonymity afforded through proxy betting.

In March 2017, the U.S. State Department’s International Narcotics Control Strategy Report identified Philippines casinos, who are exempt from reporting under AML law, as being “high risk for money laundering” and “an especially critical concern.”

The full article can be read here: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-03/remote-control-bets-lift-money-laundering-risk-at-manila-casinos