Macau casino regulator warns public about illegal online gambling sites

macau-dicj-online-gambling-warningMacau’s top gambling regulator has warned local residents about online gambling sites fraudulently advertising themselves as operating with the regulator’s blessing.

On Friday, Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) posted a statement to its website emphatically stating that the government in the world’s top casino gambling hub “has never issued any online interactive gaming license to any companies. Hence, all online interactive gambling websites in Macau are considered illegal operations.”

The DICJ said it had been prompted to act after learning that some online gambling websites were “illicitly” promoting themselves as having received the DICJ’s stamp of approval. The DICJ warned that “unauthorized use of DICJ official website information and photos for promotional purposes without obtaining prior consent is an offence. The DICJ will not tolerate such illegal acts and will reserve the rights to pursue the matter through legal channels.”

Macau authorities have not been shy about moving against unauthorized online gambling operators in the past. Friday’s warning came just one week after Macau Economic Services revealed that local advertising permit-issuing agencies had been conned into approving ads promoting illegal online gambling sites.

Some Macau casino concessionaires have previously found themselves in similar circumstances of unauthorized piggybacking on brand identities. Last year, Galaxy Entertainment Group warned of “bogus lookalike” online gambling sites improperly using Galaxy’s logos, trademarks and photos. Both Las Vegas Sands and SJM Holdings have also been forced to publicly distance themselves from this sincerest (but illegal) form of flattery.

Occasionally, these brand bandits find themselves on firmer legal footing, such as the case of the Bangkok massage parlor that had the foresight to register the domain before the US casino giant got around to protecting its online turf.