The Malaysian business tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan has pulled out of the online gambling business, apparently shutting down the operations of the Isle of Man licensed Ascot Sports.com, according to reports from the Malaysian Insider's news website.
The closure may be reflected by the website's current inaccessibility, although it displays a notice advising that it is “temporarily unavailable due to system maintenance”. The message is also duplicated on the Chinese-language version of the website.
The Malaysian Insider reports that staff in the mogul's Malaysian office were told of the closure Friday morning, and advised that it was with immediate effect.
The report goes on to describe the 2003 Malaysian licensing initiative for Tan's Ascot Sports, and the non-renewal of the licence when a new national leadership came to power three years later, despite Tan initially paying 25 years in advance. This apparently prompted Tan to enter the online gambling market, registering his operations on the Isle of Man.
The AscotSports.com website, together with its information portal AscotSportal.com, was finally launched a few months prior to the Fifa World Cup 2006 tournament. The newspaper reports that a call centre was also set up in the Philippines, and the company subsequently expanded its services by launching a 4-digit number lottery product online. The Ascot e-Casino was also launched last year (see previous InfoPowa report), targeting the Chinese-speaking market in Asia.
As we went to press, All the Tan online sites appeared closed, with the Ascot e-Casino site displaying a similar maintenance message, with the additional information that players could access their accounts and make withdrawals, but not deposit or make bets. Email enquiries sent to relevant Support and business addresses for the operations were rejected undelivered.
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