A new report details how around 250 cloned websites direct people to gambling sites linked to China. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
A strange phenomenon
A digital rights organization in Sweden has found that about 250 cloned websites are directing people to gambling sites with links to China. A report from Qurium Media said that a media company in the Philippines first encountered a clone of its own website translated into Chinese and containing gambling advertisements. Many traditional publishers do not allow this type of advertising on their platforms.
public libraries, universities and a variety of companies
After digging deeper, Qurium found many other similarly cloned websites, including those for public libraries, universities, and a variety of companies. The content has often been translated directly from the original sources. The clones, mostly created in September 2021, redirect people to gambling platforms such as 188bet, BetVictor, Manbetx, Raybet and Kaiyun.
White label platforms
The The report details how certain ads have connections to a physical address on the Isle of Man, which is a tax haven for many gambling operators. One of the advertised websites contains links to TGP Europe Limited, a white label gambling services provider licensed by the UK Gambling Commission.
The only forms of legal gambling in mainland China are the state sports lottery and the welfare lottery.
A white label offering means a company can easily apply its own branding to a turnkey sports betting or online casino platform without having to develop proprietary technology or actively manage the website.
Premier League links
Operators cannot offer gambling in China itself, so many of these organizations are based in the Philippines and Vietnam instead. Qurium is unsure whether the goal of the cloned websites is to encourage people physically located in China to gamble or whether they are targeting the Chinese diaspora in other countries.
Josimara publication focused on football investigative journalism states that TGP works with many Chinese-controlled and Philippines-based gambling operators, many of which work with English Premier League clubs.
Advertising their offers is prohibited near their place of residence
Notable soccer teams that have relationships with Asia-focused brands include Manchester City and Newcastle United. Many Asian gaming operators enter into such agreements to expand their brand presence as they cannot directly promote their offerings closer to home.