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China aims to dismantle networks for fundraising and attracting gamblers. Photo: Shutterstock

China’s crackdown on cross-border gambling aims for payment platforms and others abetting

  • Ministry of Public Security says strict new anti-gambling measures will protect social stability and China’s national image
  • Around 110,000 people detained over 17,000 cases related to cross-border gambling, reports state media

China’s Ministry of Public Security vows to take stringent measures to combat cross-border gambling as part of an effort to maintain economic security, social stability and the country’s national image.

Minister Zhao Kezhi said China would dismantle networks for fundraising and attracting gamblers in the country and cut off gambling-related capital and technology chains and promotional channels and stem the flow of gamblers.

It will uncover online payment platforms that are part of gambling and fraudulent fund services and regulate companies offering internet services to online gambling sites, he said. Government officials who take part in and provide shelter for gambling groups will be severely punished.

“We must take the strongest measures to strictly control and break the soil for cross-border gambling,” Zhao said in a meeting on Thursday in which he outlined plans to clamp down on overseas gambling crimes for the coming year. “We must create a strong anti-gambling atmosphere.”

Zhao said China would strengthen international cooperation with neighbouring countries and continue to expand a blacklist system for destinations attracting Chinese to gamble.

The new push to cut cross-border gambling follows the introduction of a blacklist in August that put travel restrictions on destinations where Chinese go to gamble. Beijing says it sees an estimated 1 trillion yuan (US$155 billion) leave the country every year because of overseas gambling.
While the list has not been made public, destinations in Southeast Asia are some hotspots for Chinese gamblers.
All forms of gambling except state-run lotteries are banned in mainland China. The Cyberspace Administration blocks domestic users from accessing gambling websites. Gambling is permitted in Macau but tourists must have a visa to enter.


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Xinhua reported on Thursday that the ministry has cracked down on thousands of gambling-related units, including more than 3,400 online gambling platforms and 2,800 illegal payment platforms and underground banks.

Around 110,000 people had been detained over 17,000 cases related to cross-border gambling, it said.

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An amendment to China’s Criminal Law passed last December makes it a crime to “set up or manage casinos overseas” and it is illegal to “organise or solicit” Chinese nationals to travel abroad to gamble.

More than 600 Chinese suspects involved in cross-border gambling were arrested last year in joint operations with police in the Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar and Vietnam, according to the Ministry of Public Security.