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Junket service and iGaming provider OKBet ceases VIP rooms in the Philippines

August 18, 2023 Philippines iGaming & Gambling

Number of operators confirmed to IAG of the closure; IAG source alleges closure related to the recent Singapore massive crackdown on money-laundering activities.

Original story and exclusive by Andrew Scott and Ben Blaschke for Inside Asian Gaming

Leading junket and online gaming operator OKBet Infinity Inc has without warning shut up shop and closed down all of its Philippines VIP rooms.

In a statement seen by Inside Asian Gaming, the company – operating as OKBet VIP Club – said its Board of Directors had determined to cease all operations as of the end of business hours on 15 August 2023 and was currently making “necessary arrangements regarding guest/patron accounts”. These preparations would be finalized “on or before” 31 August 2023, it added.

OKBet, which is said to be based out of Hong Kong, had run VIP rooms in multiple Philippines integrated resorts including Okada Manila, Newport World Resorts, City of Dreams Manila, Hann Casino Resort and NUSTAR, offering both land-based junket and proxy betting services.

A number of those operators confirmed to IAG that OKBet had closed their rooms in recent days, while IAG is aware there was a run on funds earlier in the week with players queuing up at OKBet VIP rooms in Manila looking to withdraw their funds. In its statement, OKBet said its Okada office will remain open to address any inquiries, adding, “Our aim is to ensure a seamless withdrawal of funds for all our valued patrons.”

While the company did not outline the reasons for its sudden closure, a source alleged that the events are related to the arrest this week of 10 people in Singapore for alleged involvement in forgery, money laundering and resistance to lawful apprehension.

The Singapore Police Force said that the arrests were made after it received information of possible illicit activities including the use of suspected forged documents that were used to substantiate the source of funds in Singapore bank accounts.

“Through extensive investigations and follow-up from intelligence – including the analysis of Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) – the Police identified a group of foreign nationals suspected to be involved in laundering the proceeds of crime from their overseas organized crime activities including scams and online gambling,” the police said.

Learn more about this development in the original Inside Asian Gaming article in https://www.asgam.com/index.php/2023/08/17/leading-junket-okbet-suddenly-shuts-down-operations-closes-all-philippines-vip-clubs/

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