Paul Phua’s Stay in Melbourne Raises Concerns
Paul Phua is a pretty well known poker player from Malaysia, and he has built himself a reputation as one of the high stakes poker players in the world. On the other hand, he has also gained a lot of attention these past few years as one of the key players in the business of match fixing on a global scale.
Paul Phua came to Australia, Melbourne in the beginning of January following the extended personal invitation by the Crown Casino to the poker professional; they even flew him to Australia in the corporate jet. The presence of Phua in Australia, and more specifically Melbourne, has resulted in deep concerns, for the Australian police authorities because at the time, Australia was hosting the Australian Open Tennis Grand Slam tournament.
An investigation was launched by Four Corners that considered Phua to be a great threat to Australian sports' integrity as there has been a lot of allegations in the past that Phua has ties with some of the biggest illegal online and sports betting sites in the world. These websites and bookies are often based offshore in Curaco, Manila or Isle of Man, and they offer services to players in countries where sports betting is not legal.
These websites do not only offer such services as it is alleged that they have strong ties with match fixing criminal syndicates that manipulate the odds by affecting the outcome of the matches in different sports. The most recent allegation was made by a South American player who stated that match fixing is pretty common in tennis, which made Paul Phua's stay at Melbourne during the Australian Open a cause for a lot of concern.
Neil Paterson, the Police Assistant Commissioner of Victoria has stated that they are well aware that these unregulated companies take almost 2 billion dollars a week. It is estimated on a global scale, that the unregulated sports betting market that cover all sports are worth between one to three trillion dollars a year.
Phua, in 2014, was arrested by the United States Authorities, following a sting operation in Las Vegas that exposed a sports betting operation that worked outside of the law, which targeted the FIFA World Cup of 2014. Although the operation highlighted that Phua was a key leader in a sports betting mafia, the whole operation did not result in his arrest, as the sting operation has violated the 4th amendment of the constitution of the United States of America. Paul Phua as well as the Crown Casino that is located in Melbourne did not make any statements or comments to counter these allegations and concerns.