We all know the very generous Nigerian prince. Yup, the one who keeps emailing us because he wants to hand us millions of dollars.
Or remember that time when you miraculously won the lottery? You’re so lucky, you don’t even remember purchasing lottery tickets!
Yeap, we all know by now that these are all scams. In fact, you’d think that our generation should rightly be cynical when it comes to things that look a little too good to be true.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
A study conducted earlier this year found that Malaysians are the most vulnerable to internet scams in our region. 46% of respondents reported that they had been victims to scams, and a high percentage also said they personally knew someone who had been scammed.
Therefore, when our managing editor brought a very shady looking travel-lifestyle startup to our attention, we were very dubious. Fishing for more exploitable Malaysians, eh?
The only thing we could get from their website is that they’re somewhat related to gambling, which in no way helps their credibility.
Their packages didn’t offer many more insights.
Come on, we’re not that gullible.
Some of their quotes off their “About Us” page didn’t inspire much trust either, because of the overall vagueness.
“A humble startup, Darwin International is a private regulatory compliance in Malaysia.”
“The Group’s business today also covers aspects of tourism, culinary experiences and catering for our guests’ with a large collection of events and entertainment.”
“Having grounded our feet in this nature of business, we will continue adhering to our notion of ‘keep moving forward while diversifying’. Darwin International is on the lookout to expand and partner with many other regions around the world as to bring the entertainment industry to a finest level of service.”
In the spirit of investigation, we headed over to their Facebook page. After all, social media can tell you a lot.
Then we hit a snag, because… Chinese.
(Just to explain, the VP Malaysia team is severely lacking in Chinese speaking and reading skills.)
The translations aren’t very illuminating either.
There were some English language influencers too, but they were mostly offering giveaways. We still didn’t get much of an understanding of what Darwin International actually does.
After a lot of searching, this is basically a summary of the information we had:
– They’re somewhat related to Genting (BUT Genting doesn’t list them in any of their services or in their website)
– They offer complimentary hotel suites and a limousine service
– It’s expensive AF (Their lowest package is RM10k!)
We got in contact with Darwin International to find out more—and perhaps expose a scam in the process.
To our surprise, they offered us a chance to try out exactly what they do.
I’m not saying we accepted their offer unreservedly—we really weren’t sure what to expect.
Our adventure began with a specially arranged pickup service.
First disappointment, it wasn’t a typical limo. But then again, it would be difficult to manoeuvre around the mountain bends with a long white limo, the ones we often dream of riding in like Hollywood celebrities.
Despite that, our ride (which was a black Alphard) was extremely comfortable. And there were some High Life magazines in it, which I suppose was to serve as a reminder to us that we’re living the “high life”.
We reached Genting and nearly checked in to Maxims Genting Hotel. But then were ushered to the Crockfords lobby on the 16th floor instead.
Hint: It’s even more exclusive and premium, as you can probably already tell from the hotel room card.
From there, we first laid eyes on our suite.
We had 2 flat screen TVs so we were sure that we’re not going to be fighting over the remote control. Also, the bathroom isn’t just for showers, it also doubles as a sauna if you turn the steamer on.
There are more High Life magazines in the toilet too. Reading material while you’re getting busy, I guess to again remind you of the high life you’re having.
There was an indoor heated pool at the 18th floor, right next to e18hteen, a fine-dining restaurant with an amazing view. We had our dinner and breakfast buffet here (expenses not included in the Darwin International package).
The next day, we had another chauffeur to bring us back home from Genting.
I’m not going to wax lyrical about luxury and enjoyment but needless to say, we had a fantastic weekend.
So What Do They Do?
Alright, so Darwin International did hold up their end of the bargain. Our weekend trip aside, we also found the time to dig up exactly what Darwin International does.
Basically, they offer packages to high-rollers who purchase NN chips from the Genting casino.
What are NN chips?
NN chips are non-negotiable chips. They function like real chips but the player cannot cash them in. Winnings generated from these chips are paid in cashable chips, and the player can then continue to keep the NN chip.
Each package offered by Darwin International then involves the purchase of NN chips and then you are entitled to Darwin International’s services. The higher the package bought, the more premium services you get.
For example, after a single purchase above RM10k, you are then entitled to Darwin International’s services, starting with complimentary hotel rooms in either Maxims, Genting Grand or Crockfords, depending on how much you’ve spent on the chips.
The NN chips can then be used for gambling at the casinos.
As for their “handcrafted entertainment journey by personal assistant”?
This means that Darwin International can help you with all the small, menial tasks like making restaurant bookings, procuring tickets for the many events and shows that frequently play at Genting as well as ensure your stay is smooth and enjoyable.
Another perk they offer is a “Gold card lifestyle”. These means Genting cards holders on the Red or Silver level can get all the benefits of the Gold card through Darwin.
A Quick Catch-Up With The Founder
We reached out to the founder of Darwin International, Jin to learn a little bit more about the startup and its background.
According to him, whenever potential users have any doubts about the legitimacy of their organisation, Darwin International will do its level best to address all their questions. They’ve even gone to the extent of showing the users the company registration certificate when necessary.
Jin added, “The most important thing is they have nothing to lose because they don’t need to pay us anything. All the information that they need to tell us is their arrival date and time in Genting. Then our team members will guide them to the casino counter to proceed with the services.
However, for those who are bringing big amounts of cash, we will suggest that they bank it in to Genting Berhad bank account. After that, they just need to show us the receipt when in Genting.”
Darwin International and Genting are officially collaborating, and Jin shared the story of how it all started.
“I’m actually one of Genting casino’s customers. One day, through a conversation with one of the owners, I saw the opportunity to expand this business model via digital marketing. Hence, I started this journey.”
Another thing we found out about Darwin International is that they also operate in other countries, namely Singapore, China and Australia (which explains the “international” part in the name).
“Customers from China are really high rollers. Singaporeans love all the premium perks, whereas Malaysians are more attracted to the free offers like hotel rooms,” Jin shared.
All In All: Is This A Waste Of Money?
That depends, are you already a gambler?
If you’re already spending above RM10k on gambling then this would be an add-on to your gambling routine, seeing as the money for each package is going to the casino directly (money that you’ve already put aside for gambling) and not to Darwin International.
Essentially, this would be a package more suited for high-rollers and frequent visitors to the Genting casino.
If you’re not a gambler, then this would be a red flag, not because Darwin International is a scam, but rather because then you’d be introduced to a habit that may not be wise or sustainable.
Either way, the decision is up to you.
As part of their continuing efforts to prove that they’re not a scam, Darwin International is offering a free stay at Maxims Hotel Genting to one of our readers. To take part in the giveaway:
1. ‘Like’ the Darwin International Facebook page.
2. Share this article (make sure it’s on public!) with the hashtag #VPxDarwinInternational on Facebook.
3. We’ll be selecting one random winner who will be entitled to one night stay in a room for 2 pax*.
4. The winner will be announced on the 9th of December 2016.
*Terms and conditions apply.
– The booking must be made 7 days in advance.
– Available for weekdays and weekends, but not on Public Holidays and on the eve of Public Holidays.
– Transportation to Genting will not be included.
– The free stay can be redeemed from the 10th of December 2016 to the the 11th of February 2017.