Japanese Ringleaders Among 13 Indicted for Illicit Online Gambling Ring in Taiwan

  • The illegal online betting ring operated from January 2019 to July 2020
  • Shilin District Prosecutors Office said wagers made during that period totaled US$48.9m
  • The founder of Gamatron PLC, Hayato Kinoshita, is thought to be the Japanese man indicted
  • The defendants argued that they blacklisted IPs from Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea
Japan and Taiwan flags
A Japanese man and woman and 11 Taiwanese employees were charged on Tuesday for running in an illegal multimillion-dollar online gambling ring in Taiwan. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Over $48.9m wagered

Prosecutors indicted a Japanese man and woman behind three companies registered in Taipei, Taiwan – along with 11 Taiwanese employees – for operating an unlawful online gambling business from January 2019 to July 2020. The indictment, issued by the Shilin District Prosecutors Office, said the wagers over this period totaled NT$1.4bn (US$48.9m).

follows a July raid of offices linked to London-headquartered iGaming giants Gamatron and Ganapati.

According to the all-digital national news site Taiwan News, the December 8 indictment follows a July raid of offices linked to London-headquartered iGaming giants Gamatron and Ganapati.

Prosecutors indicted the 11 Taiwanese employees and two Japanese ringleaders, a man named Kinoshita and a woman identified at Matsumura, on charges of “developing online gambling apps and making profits from online betting operations in Taiwan.”

Former founder of iGaming giant suspected

The indictment names Kinoshita and Matsumura as heading up three companies, namely Ganapati PLC (since delisted), Ganapati Taiwan Co., Ltd., and another technology business.

Taiwan-based Ganapati Taiwan Co., Ltd., develops iGaming slot games, while Ganapati is the London-based corporate HQ headed by high-profile CEO Juliet Adelstein.

The indictment states that Kinoshita and Matsumura developed 36 gambling apps linked to 28 websites based in China, Thailand, Vietnam, and several European countries. Ganapati Taiwan charged a 6-10% commission “based on each wager made by online gamblers,” Taiwan News reports.

According to a July report by Vixio Gambling Compliance, authorities arrested someone named Hayato Kinoshita along with 30 others in a raid at the offices of software development company Gamatron Studios, which is linked to the delisted Ganapati PLC.

It is not yet confirmed, but if the Kinoshita indicted on Tuesday is the same Kinoshita arrested in the July raid, he is the founder of the Ganapati Group.

No argument

Despite the defendants arguing that they blacklisted the IP addresses of Taiwanese, Japanese, and South Korean gamblers, prosecutors nevertheless said the pair’s online operations violated Taiwanese law.

receiving a 5%-8% commission from the gambling websites’ earnings, in violation of local law”

In a report following the July raid, Asia Gaming Brief quoted police as saying that Kinoshita formed Gamatron Studios in 2019, rented an office in Neihu Technology Park, and hired Taiwanese staff. Authorities allege that Kinoshita “then began developing software for 45 gambling websites […] receiving a 5%-8% commission from the gambling websites’ earnings, in violation of local law.”

According to reports, Kinoshita faces a maximum sentence of three years in jail if convicted.