Sudden Shutdown of Operations by those Under China's Thumb May not be so Mysterious

Published June 13, 2020 by Lee R

Sudden Shutdown of Operations by those Under China's Thumb May not be so Mysterious

Operators shutting down around China display some controversial resemblances.

Mysterious closures are taking place outside China's borders, with major operators shutting down operations for reasons now under speculation as scrutiny intensifies.

The Operators Closing

The main closures are the complete shutdown announced by prominent Asian-facing online gambling operator 138, and Mansion88 (M88) closures in Cambodia and Malaysia.

Why 138 Closed

The reason for 138's departures range from temporary interpretation as a result of COVID-19 closures in Philippines, to more permanent claims that parent company and dominant Asia junket provider Suncity Group has succumbed to pressure from shareholders to fully cut ties with online gambling ventures.

The Suncity Connection

For almost a year now, Suncity has not been loved by China, since media there in July 2019 pegged Suncity as the largest online gambling entity to illegally target customers on the Chinese mainland--where a well-known prohibition in gambling prevails.

Expanding Crackdowns

China ratcheted up ongoing warnings to unauthorized online gambling operators by announcing plans for a “whistleblower” platform targeting underground banking’s role in facilitating unlicensed online gambling activity.

Placating Shareholders

China's regulatory heat could understandably have discouraged Suncity shareholders from pressing the online gambling initiative further, with tolerance being tested more than ever despite Suncity's announcement that shareholders would be spared the net losses the company of the past three months due to pandemic-related closures.

M88 Checks Out

Meanwhile, M88 announced it's intention to withdraw all online services from both Cambodia and Malaysia as of May 31, giving customers the option of playing or withdrawing by May 31 after discontinuing promotions a week earlier.

Consolidation?

Cambodia and Malaysia are relatively minor markets for M88, as they consolidate their holdings in the larger markets of Macau, Thailand and Vietnam.

Outlook

With M88 already under under the microscope due to a reputation for recruiting players from outside jurisdictions, and Suncity remaining under surveillance, the recent discouraged operations may be just the beginning of the impact of China's dissatisfaction.

See also

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International Games & Amusement Fair 2018 Taking Place this October in China


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