Website helps casinos recover $10 million

Website helps casinos recover $10 million
WATCHED: A Macau casino with surveillance cameras installed on the ceiling.

Hustler, cheater, robber, rogue.

Gamblers who skip out on casino debts in Macau risk being branded with these monikers.

They also risk having their personal details made public by a website that says it has helped to recover 50 million yuan (S$10 million) so far.

The bilingual website, called Wonderful World in English, features a blacklist of 70 people from across China. It says these people have failed to repay gambling debts, reported Reuters.

Photographs of alleged deadbeats, along with their date of birth and marital status, are displayed. A bounty is often offered for help in tracking them down.

Collecting gambling debts is illegal in China, which makes Macau's 35 casinos heavily reliant on junkets - companies or agents that lure high rollers - to settle any debts.

The top junkets are sprawling conglomerates with thousands of employees and deep pockets that allow them to lend millions to gamblers.

In one entry on the site, a young man from northern China is alleged to owe tens of millions of yuan from a loan dating back to 2011.

The photo shows him wearing glasses and a blue shirt as he drives a car.

His occupation is listed as "idling away his time" and his hobbies as "eating, being merry and gambling".

He was given a "danger" rating of 95 per cent, which means the likelihood of him not paying his debts is very high.

The danger levels of other alleged debtors range from 90 per cent to 100 per cent.

Wonderful World was launched a year ago as a news and entertainment site, but began the blacklist of gamblers two months ago at the suggestion of a friend, said a site administrator who gave his name only as Mr Teng.

The personal information is provided by the creditors. The site does not charge for the postings, take a cut of recovered money or work with Macau's junkets or casino operators, Mr Teng said.

While the site is a good way to track down minor deadbeats, it is unlikely to be used much by big junkets who deal in larger volumes and have extensive connections and knowledge of debtors' assets, said a Macau-based junket agent.


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