China Cracks Down on $150 Billion of Cross-Border Gambling
What’s new: China’s Ministry of Public Security made more than 60,000 arrests, shut down thousands of illegal online gambling and payment operations and disrupted illicit cross-border gambling operations totaling more than 1 trillion yuan ($150 billion), the ministry said Thursday.
In the first nine months this year, authorities punished 11,500 gamblers according to the law and applied severe punishments to people providing facilities to gambling platforms, the ministry said. The crackdown closed more than 1,700 online gambling platforms and 1,400 illegal payment platforms in more than 8,800 cases.
The background: All forms of gambling, including online gambling, are illegal under Chinese law. Chinese citizens can participate in legal gambling only in casinos in the special administrative region of Macau. However, underground banking networks and payment platforms enable Chinese mainland customers to avoid financial controls and access and remit funds to offshore online gaming sites that target Chinese citizens.
A draft revision of China’s criminal law (link in Chinese) proposes to subject the activities of organizing and soliciting Chinese citizens for overseas gambling to punishment. The revision could hurt Macau’s small to medium-sized VIP casinos that rely on junket operators, whose business was already on the decline.
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