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High-Stakes Poker Player Faces Illegal Sports Betting Charges In Macau

Malaysian Businessman, Paul Phua, Had Similar Charges Dropped In Nevada In 2015

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On Tuesday, Paul Phua faced his second charge of running an illegal sports betting operation, this time in Macau.

In 2015, law enforcement in Nevada improperly collected evidence against him and the charges were dismissed. Officials in the United States seized evidence from his suite at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas where he was allegedly running an online World Cup sports betting ring.

He faces almost identical charges on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.

According to officials in Macau, during the 2014 World Cup, Phua was running an illegal sports betting ring out of hotel rooms at Wynn Macau. The case states that the ring moved about $637.5 million in the first week of its operations.

Police in Macau received a tip that the operation was being run out of the rooms, which is what led them to put surveillance in several of the rooms that were suspected of being used. After what they saw from the surveillance, police searched the room and found laptops, betting papers, cell phones, and several people watching sporting events. The laptops contained information about bets on the World Cup.

Phua is widely considered by officials to be leading the operation, which charged the businessman and 14 others with illegal sports betting charges. All 15 defendants are denying the charges. If found guilty, they could spend up to three years in prison.

According to Macau Business, Phua’s representation is questioning why the surveillance tapes used in the operation were not submitted as part of the evidence. The defense is questioning how the police inferred that the people using the four rooms were connected. They were also curious why the rooms were only surveilled before and during specific World Cup matches.