China warns overseas casinos against ‘enticing’ the country’s players

  • Public Security Minister vows to investigate those enticing Chinese citizens to bet overseas
  • At present Chinese bettors travel to Macau or Singapore to enjoy casino activity

It doesn’t do to irk the Chinese government, as Crown Resorts discovered last year when the company had a number of employees detained for allegedly attempting to entice Chinese gamblers to Australia.

After the business supposedly catered to Chinese high rollers at its casinos three of Crown’s overseas staff were detained in China, along with more than a dozen Chinese staff, all suspected of marketing its casinos to Chinese players – a practice which is illegal in the country.

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Exodus of domestic bettors

Now, according to reports emanating from Chinese state media, the government is poised to intensify its efforts to clamp down on the exodus of domestic gamblers to overseas and offshore casinos. Online operators are well aware of what the law says regarding poaching Chinese players, but the revenue at stake means many have decided that they’re willing to run the risk of incurring the government’s wrath.

As it stands, most Chinese punters are forced to go to Macau or Singapore to get their kicks, but many would prefer the convenience of being able to gamble online. Until China sees fit to legalise online casinos – a move that’s unlikely to happen any time soon – the country’s more technologically astute bettors are inevitably going to try to get their fix where they can.

One practice that’s almost certainly over is overseas casinos sending representatives into China to look for business.

“We must seriously investigate and severely punish those companies and individuals involved in enticing and organising Chinese tourists to gamble in overseas casinos. We must severely punish those casino-related illegal labour agents and crack down on activities for investing in overseas casinos”
Public Security Minister, Guo Shengkun

That’s pretty unambiguous language from the Chinese official and is a warning that overseas operators would do well to heed. The government has been keen to stem the flow of money out of China as a whole, attributing this in part to the current weakness of the yen against the dollar.

At the same time, the price of Bitcoin has risen in recent months, with growing Chinese interest in the crypto currency being credited for this. Until the Chinese government moves to legalise online gambling in some shape or form, it’s going to struggle to stem the flow of gamblers and their cash overseas.

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