China is to crackdown on efforts to lure its citizens to gamble in overseas casinos, state media reported. The campaign will also target online gambling available on the mainland, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported, citing Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun. Gambling is illegal in mainland China apart from having a flutter on government-run lotteries, but casinos around the world, including in Macau, Singapore and Las Vegas, view Chinese as an important source of clients. How China’s massive illegal betting industry threatens efforts to make sport key part of economy A number of casinos have sent marketing and sales staff into China to attract customers and in a high-profile case last year at least 18 staff at Crown Resorts were detained, including three Australians. “We must seriously investigate and severely punish those companies and individuals involved in enticing and organising Chinese tourists to gamble in overseas casinos,” Guo was quoted as saying. “We must severely punish those casino-related illegal labour agents and crack down on activities for investing in overseas casinos,” he added. The report added that the minister had also organised a special meeting of the country’s top police officers to draw up plans to tackle cross-border online gambling and halt betting before a Communist Party Congress takes place in Beijing later this year. The event, held every five years, will oversee changes in the country’s leadership. Guo said the police must root out criminals gangs operating online gambling and show no mercy to “underground banks” which aid with the flow of cash to fund cross-border betting. The crackdown comes as the government is trying to rein in the flow of cash out of the country as the nation’s currency has weakened against the dollar. Macau gambling extends industry’s recovery to a sixth consecutive month in January, but falls short of estimates Gambling is one key channel for money laundering and capital flight.