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Gaming Report: Westgate Sports Betting Contest on the Verge of Setting New Record, Top Cops Indicted in Illegal Gambling Operation in Vietnam & More

Westgate Sports and Suncity Group
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  • PG News September 7, 2018
  • 6 Mins Read

Upheavals and legal action, disappointments and partnerships dotted the global gaming map lately. While the Westgate SuperBookSuperContest is on the verge of breaking its own buy-in record, the top cops in Vietnam have been indicted for their involvement in an illegal gambling ring.

German online gambling operator Mybet has shut down its online casino and sportsbook, announcing also that customers will get their money back, though with delay.

Back in Asia, the Hong-Kong listed Suncity Group has entered a strategic partnership with Cambodian firm, Golden Sun Sky Entertainment Co Ltd., for its ambitious resort project in Cambodia’s Sihanoukville province. Another positive bit of news came in from the US state of Arkansas where the pro-casino lobby, Driving Arkansas Forward (DAF) has succeeded in its signature campaign for a ballot petition to let the state residents decide on two new casinos and other sports betting decisions.

Westgate Sports Betting Contest on the Verge of Setting New Record

The Westgate SuperBookSuperContest, a popular NFL spread betting tournament that runs all season is on the precipice of breaking its own buy-in record. There are already 2,075 entries as of August 30, which are 300 more entries that what was seen on the same day in 2017.

Sports Betting Live
Sports Betting Live

A $1,500 buy-in is charged to all SuperContest players for participating in the challenge that sees each player pick five weekly NFL teams against the spread. If a player makes the right selection, they are awarded a point and half-point is earned for a push. At the end of the season, the winner receives 33% of the pot, which, if things continue the way they have been, could reach $1.5 million. The top 100 players finish in the money and the runner-up gets around $580,000. Those who finish in the lowest 20 spots receive around $2,400 each.

The event first began in 2005 and back then had garnered only 505 entries. However, last year, that number had increased to 2,748 players. According to the Vice President of Westgate SuperBook Jay Kornegay, “A lot of first-time contestants win the championship. You don’t have to be a highly skilled player. If you put together a good year, you can be a millionaire. It’s life-changing money.”

“Participants aren’t required to be Nevada residents or even be in the state. The majority of the players, around 65%, live outside of Nevada and make their picks using proxies,” Kornegay added.

Top Cops Indicted in Illegal Gambling Operation in Vietnam

In March this year, an illegal online gambling ring based in the province of PhúThọwas raided by the Vietnamese authorities. The operation required the cooperation of some of the nation’s top police officers and telecom operators.

The gambling ring was based on an online casino game called Rikvip that required players to buy virtual credits for online play, but which could be redeemed for real cash should a player wish to cash out. Police reported that “the game attracted millions of users who spent VND9.8t (US$426m) in the nearly three years the ring was in operation.”

On September 5, it was reported by Vietnam News that “the PhúThọPeople’s Procuracy had confiscated VND372b ($15.9m) from three mobile operators – Viettel, Vinaphone and Mobiphone – through whose mobile top-up cards the game play was funded. The People’s Procuracy has required online payment processors and 33 banks to similarly cough up their ill-gotten proceeds.”

The previous week, the prosecutor’s completed indictments against two senior cops, the former director of the Ministry of Public Security’s General Police Department Phan Van Vinh and the Ministry’s former top cyber-crime officer Nguyen Thanh Hoa. They were responsible for protecting the ring’s operations.

Phan Van Vinh and Nguyen Thanh Hoa
Phan Van Vinh and Nguyen Thanh Hoa

Vietnam Express reported that the pair is facing charges of “abuse of power or position in performance of official duties.” Each man is facing between five to 10 years in prison if convicted.

According to the indictment, Vinh not only turned a blind eye to the gambling ring’s existence but also signed documents that helped bring the gambling ring into existence. Vinh later instructed Hoa to also sign documents that kept the ring in business. Hoa actively hindered other cops’ efforts to investigate the ring.

A total of 92 people are facing charges for their participation in the unlawful gambling business. The ring’s two main organizers, chairman of high-tech security firm CNC Nguyen Van Duong and founder of telecom firm VTC Phan Sao Nam, raked in the majority of the rings illegal profits. Duong claimed a VND1.6t share, Nam’s cut came to VND1.5t, while the rest went to the ring’s other principals.

German Operator Mybet Shuts Online Sportsbooks & Casino

Sailing in troubled financial waters off late, German online gambling operator, Mybet has shut down its online sportsbook and casino. While Mybet has kept the future possibilities open, it has assured customers that they may suffer delay but will eventually get their money back.

Sportsbooks & Casino
Sportsbooks & Casino

The Malta-licensed Mybet gambling site on Tuesday announced the suspension of its online casino and sportsbook activities with a notice informing visitors that its gaming operations were “paused, until further notice.” The news sent Mybet’s stock price stumbling down to nearly one-third on Frankfurt’s Xetra Exchange.

In recent years, Mybet has been struggling with finances. Last month, the company filed insolvency proceedings when negotiations with a potential strategic investor failed to head into a meaningful direction. Mybet also suffered big losses in its Greek-facing revenue after local regulators blocked the Mybet domain.

Adding to the woes, Mybet’s Malta-based division, Personal Exchange International was recently hit by a €4M back-tax demand from German authorities. In July this year, Mybet announced that it has re-strategized towards selling its customer facing business and focus on its B2B operations that were performing well. Evidently, the company has not been able to pull up its socks.

In its notice to the customers, Mybet has called out to its customers to be patient after submitting their withdrawal requests, assuring that it could guarantee all account balances are safe as they are protected by the Malta Gaming Authority’s Gaming Protection Regulation.

However, because of regulatory requirements that come into play in this situation, withdrawals will be carried out with significant delays, the notice read.

Suncity Group Holdings Ink Partnership Deal For Cambodian Integrated Resort Project

Macau-based junket operator Suncity Group Holdings Ltd., has entered a partnership with Cambodian company, the Golden Sun Sky Entertainment Co Ltd., for an ambitious integrated resort project in the Sihanoukville province of Cambodia.

Suncity Group
Suncity Group

In information submitted to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the Suncity Group has divulged that it will collaborate with the Golden Sun Sky for its US$360 Million integrated resort project on Otres beach in Sihanoukville that is slated to open by the end of 2019.

Golden Sun Sky was established in 2017 and is part of the mainland investment group, China Yunnan Jingcheng Group Co Ltd.

Suncity will provide certain consultancy services to the Cambodian company that has obtained the license to operate casino gaming, hotel, sports betting as well as duty-free market facilities in Cambodia. In future, its obligations could expand as the parties formalized specific contracts.

A local infrastructural boom and influx of Chinese nationals have led to an explosion in the gambling market in Sihanoukville in recent years. When completed, the proposed integrated resort will tower over the existing casinos of Sihanoukville.

While the parent firm of Suncity Group Holdings i.e. the Suncity Group already has presence in Cambodia’s casino market via a junket relationship with Cambodia’s casino operator NagaCorp, partnering with Golden Sun Sky may yet turn the fortunes of the former, that reported sizeable H1 losses last month.

Arkansas Voters Asked to Vote on Approval For New Casinos

People of the US state Arkansas will finally have their say in the crucial decisions in the casino sector of the state.

Approving the ballot petition put forth by pro-casino lobby group, Driving Arkansas Forward (DAF), the Arkansas Secretary of State on Wednesday announced that DAF’s signature campaign obtained 99,988 valid signatures on the ballot petition, exceeding the 84,589 signatures required.

Driving Arkansas Forward
Driving Arkansas Forward

The question on whether the state should authorize two new casinos and expand gaming options and two racetrack casinos would now appear on November 6 scheduled election ballot, he said.

The ballot would include aspects of whether to authorize one new casino in Jefferson and Pope Counties each, and permission for the slots-only casinos at Oaklawn and Southland racetracks to add live table games and sports betting.

A similar casino question was put forth Arkansas voters on the 2016 ballot but pulled out just weeks before the vote.

Notably, DAF has the backing of two Oklahoma based Indian tribal groups, Downstream Development Authority and the Cherokee Nation Businesses LLC that provided the bulk of the $2.3 Million raised by DAF to fund its casino ballot quest. DAF has been advocating that the money raised from taxing casino gambling could help the state revenue.

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