Gambling has been strictly prohibited in mainland China since 1949 after the Communist Party became the ruling power. This legislation applies to both offline and online casinos, as well as other foreign bookmakers. In addition, the “Great Chinese Firewall,” part of the National Public Safety Information Project, controls online gambling.
Although the players are well informed about the far-reaching consequences they might suffer, they still give in to the excitement of gambling. This is because they can always break the established laws and play european roulette for free. In addition, the use of bitcoins in international gambling establishments makes it difficult for players to be detected because it does not involve a direct flow of monetary transactions. Still, despite such strict measures, China’s gambling market generates an average of $4 billion in revenue each year.
State media reports that about 110,000 Chinese gamblers have recently been detained in more than 17,000 cases involving cross-border gambling. Large foreign online casinos such as Vegas Casino Online, BitStarz Casino, Tsars Casino, Liberty Slots Casino, etc., attract thousands of Chinese players. Moreover, some betting sites such as Bet365.com and Bodog Asia operate in China even after strict bans and significant online filtering.
A Brief History of Gambling Regulation in China
The gambling regulation policy in China has evolved over several historical periods.
- Gambling existed long before the Qing dynasty in the form of sports betting.
- Besides betting at soccer-like games, tile, dice, and card games were common means of gambling.
- During the reign of the Tang Dynasty (618AD – 906 AD), gambling secured a stronghold on society.
- Initially, severe punishment was imposed only on illegal gambling, but after the rise to power of the Song dynasty (960 AD – 1279 AD), gambling was completely banned.
However, in the 16th century, Portuguese control loosened the ban on gambling in Macao, which served as a major trading center. By the end of the 19th century, gambling was legalized in Macao. Hong Kong was also granted legalized gambling center status in 1842. However, by the end of 1997, this status was revoked.
Is Gambling Legal in China?
There is much debate in other countries as to whether gambling is completely banned in China. The 1949 gambling law does prohibit gambling but to a certain extent. According to an “amnesty” announced by China’s Ministry of Public Security in February 2021, those guilty of illegal gambling will be exempt from punishment if they turn themselves in within April 30, 2021.
In addition, the Ministry, together with the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, issued a “Notice on Extradition of Criminals Related to Cross-Border Business.” This notice is directed against individuals promoting illegal gambling and proceeding against Article 303 of China’s Criminal Code.
With the exception of gambling available in specific administrative areas, the only acceptable form of gambling in mainland China is government-approved lotteries. Government-funded lottery issuing agencies and lottery sales agencies have the authority to control the sale of authorized tickets. This is usually done jointly by the Civil Affairs Administration and the General Administration of Sports. What is more, these gambling laws are in many ways similar to the gambling laws enacted by the USA for its citizens.
Permissible Gambling in the Chinese Lotteries
Every Chinese citizen is free to participate in government-sponsored lotteries. However, there are only two types of government-funded lotteries – the Chinese Sports Lottery and the Welfare Lottery.
- Founded in 1987, The Welfare Lottery is very much in vogue in present-day China. The revenue generated is used in various ‘welfare’ projects, such as support provided to the aged, medical facilities for the people in need, etc.
- The China Sports Lottery was set up in 1994. It deals with all the legal procedures of Sports betting. In the 2018 World Cup, the Sports Lottery had generated an enormous surplus revenue. But 2019 experienced a downfall of 40.1 %. The revenue generated is used to fund athletes and their education, buy sports equipment, and professional training.
Gambling in the Administrative District of Macau
In present-day China, Macau is the only region that permits legal gambling. Besides being granted the status of Special Administration Region, the region also requires separate visas and passports for even Chinese citizens to visit. Macau attained freedom from the Portuguese just 20 years back and continues the ongoing policies until 2049.
Since the 1850s, gambling in Macau has been legalized. However, the Chinese Government underwent a slight modification in 1999, after it attained independence. As a result, many casinos in Macau are the chief source of tourism revenue.
Online gambling, licensed by China, is not supported in Macau, but the citizens are free to engage with international casinos.
The Gambling Legislation of China has both good as well as bad insights. On the one hand, China is more successful than any other nation in combatting problem gambling and gambling addiction. But, on the other hand, it hinders the lifestyle and experiences of its citizens. Nevertheless, the regulations of The Gambling Legislation of China ensure the betterment of the nation.