Sands China Warns Criminal Online Gaming Platform Using Its Brand Illegally

Posted on: April 15, 2021, 09:09h. 

Last updated on: April 15, 2021, 09:59h.

Sands China issued a statement yesterday warning potential players of an online casino that it has no affiliation with the platform, and that the gaming network is operating illegally. 

Sands China Macau casino China
The Venetian on Macau’s Cotai Strip is seen. Sands China, the property’s parent company, says an criminal gaming website is unlawfully using its likeness. (Image: Sands China)

Sands China is a subsidiary of Las Vegas Sands. The company owns and operates integrated resorts in Macau, the only place in China where gambling is permitted. 

“Sands China Ltd. wishes to clarify that the online gambling website using the name ‘Sands Macao’ is not in any way affiliated with Sands China Ltd,” the company stated. 

Sands Online Gambling Corp. is using our company’s property name and trademarks without our permission and in breach of the law,” the Sands China statement continued. “Sands China Ltd. does not engage in online gambling activities of any kind and vigorously pursues all reports of trademark infringement.”

The rogue online gambling website is reportedly being operated out of nearby Guangdong. The Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department is investigating the matter.

iGaming Concerns

China recently stepped up its law enforcement efforts to infiltrate internet sites that are actively marketing gambling towards Chinese people. 

Many are based in the Philippines, where the country licenses Philippines Offshore Gaming Operators — or POGOs. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is well aware that such entities are facilitating gambling services via the internet for people located in China, where gambling is illegal. But the controversial leader has rejected calls from China President Xi Jinping to shut down the iGaming networks. 

It’s not only foreign nations that are facilitating online gambling for Chinese people. Amid the pandemic and more people staying at home, illicit actors have pounced on the opportunity to run internet casino sites. 

The Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department claims it has infiltrated 836 online gambling websites since China first announced its crackdown on illegal internet casinos last year. The agency says it’s also well underway in its investigation into the unlicensed Sands-branded casino network.

“At present, Guangdong public security organs have arrested many people involved in the case. But there are still some criminal suspects at large,” an agency statement explained.

Sands iGaming Opposition

Sands is the casino empire of the late tycoon Sheldon Adelson. During his later years, Adelson vigorously advocated against online gambling.

Click your mouse, and lose your house,” Adelson famously quipped in 2013 regarding online gambling. 

“I am adamantly opposed to the legalization and proliferation of online gaming,” Adelson wrote that year in an op-ed for Forbes. “You would think the chairman of the world’s largest gaming company would pursue any aspect of gaming which could increase profits, right? Ordinarily that is true — but online gambling is ‘fool’s gold.'”

Adelson died in January at the age of 87. His successor — Sands CEO Rob Goldstein — says Sands is exploring entering the online gaming space. Goldstein says Adelson never questioned the viability of iGaming, but had concerns regarding the ability to police it properly and make sure people can afford their losses.