An illegal online casino which seems to operate with Australian gamblers may soon have its local website shut down after the registered owner claimed he knew nothing about the business.
Australia.- The Emu Group Ltd is currently under investigation for allegedly running an online casino that illegally promotes roulette, blackjack and 800 other games of chance to Australian gamblers.
Since 2012, Emu Group Ltd has been promoted itself as the leading provider of internet casino games in the Australian market even though online casino-style gaming is illegal under Australian law. The group which operates through three internet domain names, www.emucasino.com.au, www.emucasino.com and www.emucasino.net, claims on its Facebook page to have 10,000 Australian subscribers. Furthermore, the company announced on March 4 that a 38-year-old Perth man had won a AUD121,500 (US$ 93,840) windfall whilst playing a digital pokies game on its site.
The registered owner of the Australian domain website is Jeff Muller, who firmly denies any connection with the gambling operation. Muller claimed he never knew the website existed before he was told by The New Daily that it had been registered under his company’s name.“That is all news to me. I have nothing to do with this website.” Muller added that he is taking legal advice to find a way to remove his name from the com.au domain registry. “That’s obviously what the solicitor is working on – he has already downloaded the paperwork,” he said. Under regulation established by the Australian domain name regulator, auDA, websites can be shut down if they are found to be registered using fraudulent methods.
EmuCasino operates as a global casino operator and EMU Inc its ultimate holding company was incorporated in Panama. Its operating company, EmuGroup Limited, is registered in Malta, another jurisdiction known for tax avoidance. To conclude, the group is authorised to operate a casino over the internet under a licence issued by the gaming regulator of Curacao, yet another tax haven.
Australian regulators and law enforcement agencies are investigating the group because whilst EmuCasino’s incorporation structure is not unusual in the online gambling market, it promotes itself on its websites as “Australian-owned.” The Panamanian Companies Registry, shows that the shares of EmuCasino are held in the names of two trust companies, which effectively hides the identities of the Australian owners. The holding company was incorporated by a law firm known as Quijano & Associates, one of Panama’s leading providers of shelf company registrations and competitors of the infamous Mossack Fonseca.
Oddly enough, EmuCasino appears to be operating customer service centres in Sydney and Auckland and phone numbers for each of the centres are listed on the websites. AusPost owned, POLi Payments, facilitates payments to EmuCasino. Back in 2015, the Queensland call centre of a Vanuatu-licensed online gambling service known as Betjack was raided by police forces who later charged three men. Betjack was reportedly linked to underworld crime figures in Melbourne.