King Gaming Raided on Isle of Man in Fraud, Money-Laundering Probe

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Last summer, Asian-facing online gambling operator King Gaming Ltd. obtained planning permission from the Isle of Man government to build a multimillion-dollar HQ on a derelict vacation complex.

A computer rendering of King Gaming’s ambitious vision for its HQ on the Isle of Man. It’s unlikely the project will happen following raids that shut down King’s operations last week. (Image: Excel Group)

The project, which would have included office and residential space, plus two eateries and a landscaped park, was described by local media as the “largest ever single private investment on the Isle of Man.”

But last week, police raided King Gaming’s offices on the island and arrested seven staff members as part of an investigation into fraud, money laundering, and immigration violations.

The island’s gambling regulator, the Gambling Supervision Commission, immediately suspended King’s license, along with that of Dalimine Ltd., King’s B2B arm.

Links to Crypto Firm

A day later, the Isle of Man Financial Services Authority ordered cryptocurrency firm, Soteria Solutions, to suspend operations because it shared directors and officers with King, and was registered at the same address.

King operates the online sportsbook and casino, which is currently offline except for – inexplicably – users based in Japan.

King’s B2B operation, Dalamine, doesn’t appear to have any customers apart from Moreover, investigative soccer website Josimar points out that the website has had fewer than 5,000 visitors in the past three months, hardly the numbers of a thriving gaming business. It is unclear, then, where the money for King’s swanky new HQ was coming from.

Asian Invasion

The Isle of Man is a 227-square-mile, self-governing British Crown Dependency in the Irish Sea. Its status as a haven for offshore banking, investment in IT infrastructure, and reputation for light-touch regulation have turned it into one of Europe’s foremost jurisdictions for online gambling and fintech firms. Several well-known online gambling companies, such as PokerStars, are regulated there.

In recent years, some Asian-facing gaming outfits have established links to the island. Many are lured by the opportunity to operate indirectly in the UK via the “white-label” system operated by TGP Europe Ltd., among others.

This is where a website is designed to look and feel like a certain gaming brand, but the content and services provided are operated and managed by a third party. In this way, TGP runs numerous different brands on its network under its own UK license.

Springboard to China

Access to the UK market has provided many of these brands with the opportunity to sponsor English professional soccer teams. They can then use the sport’s global reach to gain exposure in markets like China, where offering and marketing gambling is strictly illegal.

All of these companies, like King Gaming, have opaque ownership structures. TGP has been linked to gambling sites owned by former junket kingpin Alvin Chau, who in 2023 was sentenced to 18 years in prison in Macau for illegal gambling and criminal association.

There’s little evidence that King Gaming was in the Isle of Man to exploit this loophole, and it has no affiliation whatsoever to TGP. Meanwhile, this level of intervention by the island’s authorities against one of its licensees is unprecedented, which begs the question, what was King Gaming doing there?

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