OKBet Infinity Inc., a major online gaming and junket operator, has unexpectedly halted operations and closed its VIP rooms in the Philippines. A statement from the company, which operates under the name OKBet VIP Club, revealed that the Board of Directors made the decision to cease all operations by the end of business hours on 15 August 2023. The statement also mentioned that arrangements regarding guest and patron accounts would be finalized by 31 August 2023.
Based in Hong Kong, OKBet operated several VIP rooms in various Integrated Resorts (IRs) in the Philippines, including Newport World Resorts, Okada Manila, Hann Casino Resort, NUSTAR, and City of Dreams Manila. OKBet offered proxy wagering and land-based junket services at these properties. According to Inside Asian Gaming (IAG), many of these properties confirmed that OKBet recently closed its rooms. Additionally, IAG reported that earlier this week, players lined up at the operator’s VIP rooms in Manila to withdraw their funds. In response, OKBet stated, “Our Okada office will remain open to address any inquiries. Our aim is to ensure a seamless withdrawal of funds for all our valued patrons.”
Though OKBet did not disclose the reasons for the sudden closure, sources suggest that it may be related to the recent arrest of ten individuals in Singapore. The individuals, aged between 31 and 44, are suspected of forgery, money laundering, and resisting lawful apprehension. The Singapore Police Force mentioned that the arrests were a result of an investigation into illicit activities, including the use of forged documents to substantiate the source of funds in Singaporean bank accounts. The individuals, who were not Singaporean citizens or permanent residents, were reportedly involved in laundering proceeds from overseas organized crime activities, including scams and online gambling.
The individuals arrested included three from Cambodia, three from China, two from Cyprus, one from Turkey, and one from Vanuatu. Among them, all were male except for one Chinese national. Furthermore, another twelve individuals are aiding police investigations, while eight others remain at large.
The Singapore Police Force revealed that the group’s combined assets totaled over SG$1 billion, including 94 properties and 50 vehicles valued at SG$815 million. Prohibition orders have been issued against these assets. Police also seized more than 35 bank accounts with an estimated balance of over SG$110 million, along with cash, electronics, and luxury goods. An unconfirmed source stated that the seizures included SG$23 million in cash in various currencies, over 120 electronic devices, 250 designer watches and handbags, 270 pieces of jewelry, two gold bars, and 11 virtual assets.
There are claims that one of those detained was OKBet’s top executive, but this remains unconfirmed. OKBet, part of Kingwin Ventures Inc., denied any involvement in illegal activities and asserted that the arrested suspects are not part of the company. In a press release, OKBet vowed to maintain its integrity and ethical business practices.
OKBet stated, “Just like a soaring eagle attracts both admiration and envy, success often draws both supporters and detractors. With OKBet’s achievements come challenges, controversies, and baseless rumors that attempt to cast shadows on the company’s reputation, like a recent article that tried to associate OKBet with a money laundering scheme in Singapore.”
OKBet confirmed that it still holds a license from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and assured its commitment to support the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL). The company, an official sponsor of the league and the franchise owner of the Makati OKBet Kings Basketball Team, emphasized its dedication to sports development and community engagement.
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