For reasons that aren’t yet known to the public, Asian-based online casino operator 138.com was taken offline. The Asian-facing gambling operator is however not the only casino that has mysteriously closed down its operations. Mansion88 has also halted its services in Malaysia and Cambodia.
Earlier in May, 138.com notified its players to withdraw their funds immediately, then alerted its iGaming suppliers that their services were no longer needed and everything suddenly went dark. While no explanation was offered for the sudden checkout, some Asian affiliates allege that the platform exited the Asian market because its Philippine-based support services were closed down due to mitigation measures the Philippines has taken against COVID-19. However, that seems unlikely because the platform has been taken offline completely.
Some sources, however, assert that the shutdown was because Suncity Group, the sites parent company which is Asia’s biggest casino junket operator, was under shareholder pressure to withdraw from online gambling operations for good. Moreover, the same Suncity Group had come under fire in China over some alleged not-so-legal operations in the Chinese kitchen. It, therefore, makes sense that the shareholders would also want to walk out of that market because of the regulatory squabble.
When 138.com started operations, it was referred to as 138SunGame (or SunCity), before changing its brand name in 2013 as it expanded into Europe. The platform ran on a Xela Holdings Ltd., an Isle of Man-based casino operator group, while 138.co.uk, the UK-focused brand, continues to run under a Fesuge Ltd. license.
For the online gambling operator M88, also known as Mansion88, on the other hand, the operations will shut down all its services in the Malaysian and Cambodian markets from May 31. Their most probable reason for their exit is that the company wants to put more focus into its more lucrative operations in Thailand, Vietnam, and China.