A network that supplied gambling machines to casinos in 30 provinces has been busted in an anti-gambling crackdown, the Ministry of Public Security said on its website yesterday.
The ministry in April established a joint task force with police to launch this month's crackdown in 30 provinces and cities such as Guangdong and Zhejiang . This followed a tip received in Zhejiang's Wenling that a gambling machine had been installed in a game centre in the city.
After a four-month investigation, the police found that since 2008, an electronics company and an animation company in Guangzhou - Guangzhou Malong Electronics Technology and Jinyi Animation Technology respectively - produced and sold gambling machines disguised as video-game machines to various casinos.
They jointly operated casinos with other parties in the 30 provinces across the country.
In operations on August 13 and 16, which involved 1,900 officers, the police task force seized more than 20,000 gambling machines from five factories, arrested more than 1,500 suspects and captured about 16 million yuan (HK$19.6 million) worth of gambling money, said the ministry.
Malong and Jinyi had expanded rapidly and had the potential to make close to 100 million yuan a year from producing gambling machines and running casinos, the ministry said.
Each gambling machine was embedded with a chip that was able to record how much money that machine made. The data would be transferred to Malong in Guangzhou, the ministry said.
The ministry said that staff from Malong would keep changing the passwords for the machines periodically so they could be rebooted.
"In this way, Malong could achieve its aims of controlling the casinos and dividing profits," said the ministry.
The dismantling of the network marks the ministry's latest success in its continuing battle against the production of illegal gambling machines.
In January, the ministry joined forces with the police to launch an anti-gambling crackdown in 18 provinces, successfully rooting out a syndicate that produced gambling machines in 69 counties and cities.