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Macau’s Top Lawmaker Reveals Beijing Spies On Gamblers

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Macau's Top Legislator Reveals Beijing Spies On Gamblers
Ho Iat Seng, member of Legislative Assembly of Macau. (Photo credits: Macau Business)
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The Chinese mainland officials who once piled the proceeds of their embezzlement onto the baccarat tables of Macau are a thing of the past, according to Ho Iat Seng, president of the enclave’s legislative assembly.

Speaking to Chinese state-run media during a trip to Beijing this week, Ho claimed that the facial recognition technology used to identify individuals entering casinos had all but eradicated the problem.

He also mentioned that mainland public servants are “monitored” during visits to Macau, alluding to the possibility that Beijing spies on its citizens in the gambling enclave.

We will know right away when a government official from the mainland walks into the door, and there are people who have got calls from their supervisors the moment they sit down,” Ho said.

Many officials are on the surveillance list,” he added. “It’s become quite difficult for employees of the banking and financial sector to travel to Macau, let alone officials.

Sea of Dirty Money

On acceding to power in 2012, Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered a wide-scale “anti-corruption” campaign to counter the graft that had become endemic in the Chinese system.

Macau was a hub for the of laundering stolen public money as the gambling industry became a vehicle for the movement of billions of dollars from the mainland. Meanwhile, news reports of officials amassing enormous gambling debts caused widespread public anger on the mainland.

In late 2014 the anti-graft campaign intensified in Macau as Beijing imposed stricter controls on the movement of money and tightened regulations on the junket industry. The VIP segment got the message and stayed away from the enclave.

Macau’s casino market soon began to feel the pinch, its revenues plunging for month after month for nearly two years until it bottomed out in the summer of 2016. Many of the VIPs have now returned, just not the corrupt ones, according to Ho.

Spy Vs Spy

Intriguingly, if Beijing has indeed been spying on its public servants in Macau, Chinese agents may not have been the only operatives in town.

A report compiled by a private investigator in 2010, which came to light during the high-profile wrongful dismissal case between LVS and the former CEO of Sands China Steven Jacobs, suggested Beijing was convinced that LVS’ properties in Macau were crawling with CIA agents.

The Chinese government believed these agents were involved in the “luring and entrapping mainland government officials, involved in gaming,” in the hope of blackmailing them into “cooperating with US government interests,” according to the report.

If true, it places China’s anti-graft policy in Macau in a revealing new light.

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NODWIN Gaming appoints former TEC Co-Founder Ishaan Arya as Vice President of Sales & Partnerships

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NODWIN Gaming, the leading South Asian gaming and Esports company, has appointed Esports veteran Ishaan Arya, as Vice President of Sales and Partnerships to bolster its leadership team.

With over a decade of experience, the former co-founder of The Esports Club has played a pivotal role in spearheading some of the country’s largest gaming and Esports events, including The Arena, India’s premier consumer gaming event. His guidance not only propelled The Esports Club to unprecedented heights but also facilitated its expansion beyond India into the markets of the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

In his new role at NODWIN Gaming, Ishaan will focus on enhancing the value of the company’s existing IPs, such as BGMS, DreamHack India, NODWIN India Premiership, Valorant Challengers South Asia, and Comic Con India, ensuring their sustained growth and global audience engagement. He will be working on new brand partnerships, initiatives and innovating IPs as NODWIN Gaming pushes the boundaries in the gaming, esports, and lifestyle segments.

Sharing his thoughts, Ishaan Arya, Vice-President of Sales and Partnerships at NODWIN Gaming, stated, “I am excited to join NODWIN Gaming to contribute to their massive roster of global gaming, esports, and lifestyle events. As one of the top new-age sports media organizations in the world, NODWIN Gaming’s visionary approach and global roadmap have always been top-notch. Alongside a fantastic team, I am eager to utilize my expertise in large-scale gaming events and publisher partnerships to elevate the company to new heights.”

“At NODWIN, we pride ourselves in encouraging our leaders to take ownership in various aspects of the business. As a founder himself, Ishaan not only brings a wealth of knowledge and experience but will also drive innovation and growth across key verticals of our gaming and entertainment segments,” said Akshat Rathee, Co-Founder and Managing Director of NODWIN Gaming.

Since its inception, NODWIN Gaming has cemented its position as a frontrunner in the global gaming and Esports industry. The company has been making significant strides in venturing beyond Esports, recently acquiring Comic Con India, alongside obtaining a 51% stake in the Singapore-based media company Branded.

With experience working with Comic Con India as well as industry giants like NVIDIA, Intel, LG, Lenovo, Dell, JBL & Amazon, in the past, Ishaan will be a key addition to NODWIN Gaming as they drive innovation and progress in the gaming and Esports sector.

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NOVOMATIC Showcases Exceptional Highlights at G2E Asia in Macao

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This year’s G2E Macao was a great success for NOVOMATIC. The gaming technology leader set new standards in the industry, with innovative products, state-of-the-art technologies and impressive new gaming solutions that were exceptionally well received by visitors and technology enthusiasts alike.

NOVOMATIC showcased its internationally acclaimed DIAMOND X cabinets and introduced new gaming content. The sophisticated J-curved DIAMOND X 1.55J featured the XTENSION LINK Volume 2, a high-performing Linked Progressive title with five new games, including internationally popular titles such as Golden Book of Ra and Golden Charming Lady in their exclusive XL versions. CASH FLOOD Link, another fan favourite, was also presented in the DIAMOND X 1.55J cabinet. This new Linked Progressive includes the titles Secrets of Wealth, Magic Cleopatra, and Roll on Fire – a trio that ensures three times the excitement on the gaming floors.

The multi-screen DIAMOND X 2.32/3.32 also attracted lots of attention, featuring the latest Linked Progressive Superia GOLDEN LINK Volume 2. This Jackpot offers a captivating gaming experience and golden winning chances with five new games, including Mermaid Beauty, Shanghai Club, Queen of the Night Magic, Empress Sissi, and all time NOVOMATIC favourites such as Golden Book of Ra and Golden Charming Lady.

A standout feature of NOVOMATIC’s presentation at G2E Macao was the brand new ETG solution, NOVO UNITY PRO. This advanced system enhances the casino floor with unparalleled functionality and flexibility to meet the demands of the future, enabling the integration of electronic live games such as SicBo and Baccarat as well as Roulette, Poker, Black Jack and slot games across numerous player stations. The innovative Simultaneous Betting functionality promises a new level of game engagement for players and offers the option to play up to three electronic live games at the same time.

The NOVOVISION casino management system revolutionises casino operations with an extensive range of features that go far beyond traditional accounting, jackpots, player tracking, cashless and TITO transactions. NOVOVISION also introduces biometric technologies for player recognition as well as access and payment solutions, setting new standards for the management of gaming operations.

Thomas Schmalzer, VP of Global Sales and VP of Product Management at NOVOMATIC AG, said: “As one of the most important trade shows for the Asian market, the G2E in Macao was an exceptional opportunity for NOVOMATIC to connect with our customers and expand our market presence. We are very pleased with our continuous growth in Asia and are proud to have presented a powerful portfolio of products and solutions at the trade show. We are looking forward to further strengthening our position as an industry leader using a specific product strategy and content tailored for the local markets.”

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PAGCOR CHIEF: BANNING IGLs COULD CAUSE BIGGER PROBLEMS

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The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation today said outlawing Internet Gaming Licensees or IGLs, previously called POGOs (Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators) could cause bigger problems since it would drive legitimate operators underground.

“If this happens, it would become harder for us to monitor them, and the number of illegal operators would grow and pose a bigger headache to our law enforcement authorities,” according to PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Alejandro H. Tengco.

“On top of these, the government will lose potential revenues of more than Php20 billion annually, without any guarantee that illegal activities will stop,” he said.

Mr. Tengco said it is very likely that when legitimate operators are banned, they will simply hide and vanish, bringing with them their gaming equipment like computers and machines and simply continue to operate without government monitoring and supervision.

“We have no guarantee that, once we ban the legitimate operators, they will simply close shop and return to their countries of origin where they are likely to face prosecution and jail, or worse,” he said.

“So they will just go underground here in the Philippines and continue operating,” the PAGCOR chief said. “Worse, they could join those who are engaged in illegal activities like scamming, hacking and other cybercrimes, which would cause bigger problems to us.”

“Once they are underground, we lose control over them,” Mr. Tengco said.

Despite this, the PAGCOR chief said the agency will respect whatever decision Congress will make on the issue.

“It is the prerogative of our lawmakers to outlaw IGLs, if they believe it will solve our problems.

“However, for us, the real problem are the criminal syndicates masquerading as POGOs. It is only through intensified law enforcement and the cooperation of all sectors that we would be able to address the problem of criminality,” Mr. Tengco said.

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