How China Wants to Kill Online Casinos

China is well known for keeping close tabs on their citizens and having very specific within-country laws - particularly as they pertain to internet access. You will be aware of The Great Firewall of China that disallows international internet access, keeping internet access and services within the country except for very specific cases.

If you have ever visited China you will have quickly learned that you can’t simply just Google something, visit Facebook, or pull up your favorite internet-enabled maps app. There are various Chinese apps and sites that you need to visit instead, such as WeChat, that often operate in Chinese-languages only (and you don’t have Google Translate handy to help you get over that particular hurdle).

But onto the gambling.

Casinos are illegal in China

Land-based casinos are illegal in all of mainland China. The only exceptions to the rule are for China’s other associated regions; Macau, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. There are very heavy penalties in place for running these sort of establishments.

As per Thomson Reuters Practical Law, running a gambling establishment will result in three or fewer years in prison, criminal detention or public surveillance, plus a fine. For more serious offenses there will be a prison term between three and ten years as well as a fine.

There are only two forms of legal gambling in mainland China, a national lottery and a sports lottery.

Chinese citizens flock overseas to gamble

When you step into a casino nearly anywhere else in the world, you’ll notice plenty of Chinese people playing the tables and having a spin on the slot machines. While Chinese citizens are technically not allowed to gamble overseas, this doesn’t stop their appetite for gaming and thus flouting the rules.

With Chinese international travel becoming significantly more popular over the past 10-15 years, this has meant an influx of visitors to overseas casinos.

What about online casinos?

Of course, international travel isn’t available to everyone. There are those who can’t afford to travel, don’t have a passport, or don’t have the time to take off work. For these people, online gambling is a very appealing prospect. But how does this fit into the internet services offered under the blanket of The Great Firewall of China?

Well, in a word, it doesn’t. China have been quick to crack down on online gambling avenues within the country. Tencent Holdings, China’s major tech giant, was forced in 2018 to shut down their popular Texas Hold Em game by the government.

However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways to get around betting at offshore online casino providers, such as in Cambodia and the Philippines. Their close neighbors Japan have many operators offering casino gamblers no deposit bonuses. A bit of tech-savvy to get around the internet obstructions is required, and gambling online is risky business, but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

Enter: Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP)

So how are the Chinese planning to further lock down online gambling and other money filtering out of the country? That would be by introducing their own cryptocurrencies and blockchain applications.

DCEP, or Digital Currency Electronic Payment, is the main coin that is set to be used across China’s internet services. The coin is, in effect, simply a digital Yuan, and may in fact in the future replace the country’s physical currency completely.

This offers China a new way of tracking its citizens and what they are doing online. The currency, like other Chinese technologies such as TikTok and Alibaba, may indeed take off around the world. China’s reach is spreading through their clever use of technology and it won’t be long before much of their culture is indeed ingrained in Western culture, too.

Looking to the future

China will continue to actively try and stop their citizens from gambling online and also overseas where they can. This will likely continue for the foreseeable future, unless there is a change of heart from the Chinese government.

As Chinese reach continues to explore the rest of the world like a spiderweb, it will be interesting to see how gambling services are affected and change. But for now, it’s safe to say that we will still see plenty of Chinese gamblers in overseas casinos and players online who are able to get around their tech battles.

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