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The Best Online Casinos in China for 2020

China

Home to over a billion people, China has some of the richest history in the world. Gambling and betting also form a strong part of Chinese culture. Gambling on dice, animals, and cards has been taking place in China for centuries. Unfortunately, the law hasn't always been aligned with the habits of Chinese gamblers.

Officially, most online gambling is illegal in China and a lot of remote betting is prohibited. However, many lotteries exist legally from region to region. And one of the world's largest gambling destinations, Macau, is a semi-autonomous region in China which has some of the biggest casinos in Asia.

At a lot of online casinos, China-based gamblers can deposit in renminbi (RMB) and choose Chinese-language games and services. But the legality of offshore casinos and gaming sites is still a murky area for Chinese players. Let's explore the status of casino gambling in China below with our expert guide. 

Despite a rather strict legal landscape with regard to online gambling in China, you can still discover some of the best RMB online casinos for Chinese players. China is still catching up with the rest of the world in regulating online betting sites, but many offshore rooms accept Chinese gamblers. You can play at our recommended China online casino sites today to claim huge bonuses:

Top China Casino Sites in 2020

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Play at Trusted Online Casinos in China

Chinese law is quite strict with gambling restrictions, creating a sparse landscape for anyone in the country who wishes to play at an online casino. 

The murky legal landscape in China doesn’t mean that players have no options, however. In fact, a number of betting sites are happy to accept players from China. These sites give players a secure and fun gambling experience online. 

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing an online casino in China. Payment methods, safety and security, and game variety all come into play when deciding between sites. We carefully research Chinese gambling laws and the sites on our recommended list to ensure you get a safe and enjoyable gaming experience. 

It is important to know where you stand if you play at an online gambling site from China. Internet service providers do not allow unlimited access to the internet in the country, and the government can prosecute online gamblers. It’s crucial to take safety measures before using an offshore gambling site from our curated list. 


Popular Online Casino Games

Many popular games found at online casinos based overseas stem from China. Pai Gow and Sic Bo have been played in China for centuries. And some of the big Macau casinos still offer these popular table games. They’re popular titles at land-based casinos, of course, but they have also made their way onto China betting sites. 

China’s online casino players will find a variety of games available, including table games and slots made popular in the UK, US, and other markets that allow many forms of online gambling. But there’s also a wealth of options for those interested in games that have their origins in China and the surrounding area.  

Sic Bo is available at most online casinos. China-based gamblers love the game. Sic Bo is an easy dice game where bets are placed on the random outcome of three dice.

Baccarat and Punto Banco have been popular among Chinese gamblers for decades. Both games are offered at most online casinos that allow players from China. These table games can be played in the big Macau casinos, too.

Pai Gow is a Chinese gambling game played with domino-style tiles. While it’s illegal to bet on Pai Gow on the mainland, gamblers in Macau can play Pai Gow. The game was Americanized with cards and turned into Pai Gow Poker, played with a standard deck of 52 cards.

Mahjong is a tile-based game that has been played since the 17th Century. It's also hugely popular with gamblers in China. It's commonly played with four players and 144 tiles featuring Chinese characters. The object is to form legal "hands" by drawing and discarding tiles.

In 1998, a new set of rules was drawn up by the China State Sports Commission to dissuade Chinese players from gambling on Mahjong.


Best Deposit Methods for Chinese Gambling Online

China has access to a lot of online payment methods. Because legal gambling in China is mostly limited to land-based formats, some online payment options common to the country like AliPay (AliBaba's payment system) and Tencent aren't usually accepted at offshore online rooms. This doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of payment options, though. Chinese players will find a variety of deposit and withdrawal methods at our trusted online casino sites.

The offshore online casinos that accept Chinese players allow deposits in renminbi or Chinese yuan (CNY). The best online casinos for players in China allow a wide spread of deposit limits, and withdrawals are possible. Here are the best deposit methods for online casinos in China. 

UnionPay

UnionPay is a Chinese payment provider that allows transactions to online gaming sites. Prepaid UnionPay cards can also be loaded with funds and used on the web when in China. Essentially, UnionPay works like a regular debit or credit card, drawing on money from your own bank account.

Bank Transfer

Sometimes, a straight bank transfer from a Chinese bank account is the best way to fund your online gambling wallet. All you need is an online banking account and the details of the casino you're sending RMB to. Fees will apply, especially if you are sending cash overseas.

PayPal

PayPal is one of the largest e-Wallet operators in the world. It's also among the most popular third-party wallets in China. Customers can use a single virtual wallet to fund their gambling online. At online casinos, China-based gamblers can use their PayPal account to send money securely and anonymously. However, not all offshore casinos will accept RMB customers.


An Overview of China Gambling Laws

Despite decades of economic liberalization, China remains a one-party Communist state. All affairs are run by the Communist Party, and corruption is taken seriously.

In general, all gambling is illegal on mainland China apart from some regulated lotteries. Chinese gambling laws prohibit online gaming sites from operating in the country, but offshore operators still accept players from China. 

Land-based gaming is largely prohibited as well, but Macau, Taiwan, and Hong Kong are the three exceptions and operate some legalized gambling.

The main law regulating gambling is Article 303 of the Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China (PRC). "Assembling a crowd to engage in gambling" for money is forbidden. A crowd in this case is anyt gathering of more than two or three people.

While land-based gambling in most parts of China is strictly forbidden, online gambling is considered illegal in all parts of the country. However, gamblers from China are permitted at a number of online casinos. However, it's still worth checking the Restricted Countries page on any given casino site before signing up from China.

Though the Chinese mainland strictly opposes most forms of gambling, there are a few key exceptions that offer betting options for Chinese players. 

Macau: The former Portuguese colony is now a semi-autonomous region governed by China. As of now, Macau is the only place in China where land-based gambling is legal. Since it holds a virtual monopoly on offline gaming in China, Macau has fast become one of the biggest casino destinations in the world. It boasts casinos to rival Las Vegas in terms of size and games offered.

Hong Kong: Some gambling is permitted in Hong Kong, the former British colony handed back to China in 1997.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) holds the monopoly on sports betting, although it does run an online gambling site for residents.

Taiwan: Most forms of gambling are banned in Taiwan. However, its Uniform Invoice Lottery is permitted, as well other state-run lotteries. Casinos are technically legal after the Offshore Islands Development Act was established. However, since the law passed in 2009, no casinos have been built in Taiwan

Hainan: In 2018, there was surprise when China drafted proposals to make gambling legal on Hainan Island. Nothing came of the proposals, however, and gambling remains illegal on the island. Efforts to allow horse race betting and gambling on Hainan were stalled again in recent years. The future of gambling on the Chinese island is still uncertain.

Although casino gambling isn't allowed, it hasn't stopped major casino chains from building resorts there. The MGM Grand Sanya is one of the largest non-gaming five-star resorts in China.

Lottery: Lotteries operated by the government of China are not considered gambling for legal purposes, and there are two offered throughout the country - the Sports Lottery and the Welfare Lottery.

The Welfare Lottery is overseen by the China Welfare Lottery Issuance Centre and regulated by the Ministry of Civil Affairs. It has been running since 1987.

The Sports Lottery is overseen by the China Sports Lottery Administration Centre, which has been in operation since 1994.

As well as the major nationwide lotteries, individual regions can hold their own draws. Players can also buy tickets at sites like TaoBao and 163.com. Online lottery licences are issued by the Ministry of Finance.


Live Betting and Casinos in China

Land-based casinos are banned outside the semi-autonomous regions of Macau and Sanya (located on the southern end of Hainan). That's where you will find the largest concentration of casinos.

Macau (the 'Vegas of the East') boasts some of the world's biggest and swankiest casinos. Major chains like Sands have casinos in Macau, as well as Melco Crown, whose Studio City has large backing from Aussie gambling mogul James Packer. The Cotai Strip is in a tight race with Las Vegas for the world's hottest gambling destination title.

For years, Chinese gamblers have visited Macau to play table games, having been denied games back home. However, a lot of VIP junkets (tour trips) have been clamped down on by the Chinese government. This is in an ongoing anti-corruption drive by President Xi Jinping to stop public officials and other Chinese tourists taking money out of the country. There are now strict limits on the amount of cash Chinese holidaymakers can take to Macau. 

As the region continues its growth in popularity, Macau could help soften China’s stance toward online casino gaming. If internet gambling sees meaningful expansion in China, it’s likely that Macau, ever the beacon of industry progress, will help to lead the charge. 

Big Macau Casinos:

Studio City: Baccarat and Sic Bo are two of the most popular games in Macau casinos. You will find these alongside slots at most big Macau casinos.

In 2015, Studio City became the first entertainment-focused casino to open since the Chinese crackdown. It also has Asia's first branch of super-nightclub Pacha. Studio City has a Hollywood theme and features Asia's biggest Ferris wheel, embedded in the side of the hotel.

Baccarat, blackjack, Caribbean Stud Poker, and European Roulette are all offered at Studio City. Of course, players can find Sic Bo too, and Fortune Baccarat, a special variant of the game with live dealers and electronic keypads to place bets.

Sands Macao: Sands Macao is the Chinese offshoot of the popular Las Vegas casino chain. Sands offers light shows and Chinese New Year decorations among its entertainment in a bid to be more appealing to families.

Venetian Macao: The Macau branch of the Venice-inspired casino is just as amazing as its Las Vegas sister site. The Venetian Macao has won awards for its entertainment complex and hotel. Chinese visitors can also get special travel packages when travelling by ferry from Hong Kong.

Poker and Sports Betting in China

Poker: The Chinese authorities have been slow to catch on to the western boom in poker that has also taken hold in the online world with poker rooms and table game variants at online betting sites. However, it hasn't stopped major operators in China from trying to tap into what could be a massive market.

Poker’s growth in China is slow, but Macau casinos still run some large-scale tournaments. And there are endless stories of multi-million dollar cash games taking place among Chinese businessmen and overseas pros.

Sanya on the island of Hainan has hosted large-scale poker events recently. The holiday destination is popular with Chinese tourists, and the island has long been touted as the next big rival for Macau. The first major poker tournament to be held on Chinese soil took place in 2012. WPT National Sanya was a big success, and the World Poker Tour have returned several times since. Local players generally do well, and in 2017 Qian Zhi Qiang won CNY1.6m ($242,555) in the WPT Sanya Main Event.

Sports betting: Other than the Sports Lottery, sports betting is prohibited in China. Illegal sports betting is a massive business in China, particularly around major tournaments like the FIFA World Cup. The Chinese authorities tend to come down hard on illegal bookmakers and websites.


Discover the Best China Online Casinos in 2020

China has one of the most well-established gambling cultures in the world. It also boasts some of the best land-based casinos anywhere outside Las Vegas. However, government attitudes to online gambling sites outside China are strict.

It's important to know where you stand if you are gambling at online casinos. China has a history of fining operators who break the law, and until Chinese gamblers can use ISPs to access any site they want, the situation won't improve. 

Still, some operators happily accept online casino gamblers from China. Our recommended sites offer a wide variety of casino games popular with Chinese players as well as large libraries of globally well-loved casino games. Best of all, you’ll get a generous welcome bonus just by signing up, which can be converted into real money for you to withdraw or play with. 


China Gambling at a Glance

Population: 1.3 billion
Legal Age of Gambling: 18
Land-based Casinos (Y/N): Y
Online Casinos Legal (Y/N): N
Popular Games: Sic Bo, Mahjong, lottery, baccarat, Pai Gow, punto banco 


Brief History of Gambling in China

2nd-4th Century BC - Wei Kingdom prohibits gambling and fines are handed out to guilty players.

16th Century - Under the rule of the Portuguese, the trading post of Macau becomes a haven for gambling. Games like Sic Bo and Pai Gow become more widely played.

17th-19th Century - Some gambling is popular in Taiwan.

1935 - Criminal Code of the Republic of China bans all public gambling and casinos. Mahjong is permitted on special holidays like Chinese New Year.

1949 - China's new Communist rulers ban all types of gambling.

1951 - Taiwan's Uniform Invoice Lottery is introduced.

1987 - Charity-based Welfare Lottery is introduced.

1994 - Sports Lottery is introduced.

1997 - Hong Kong is handed back to the Chinese. Legal horse racing and sports betting continues.

2000 - New regulations are drawn up to promote responsible gambling. All operators must apply for Online Internet Culture licences to operate on the web.

2009 - Hainan Island looks at plans to liberalize gambling to attract tourists.

2012 - A small casino opens in Sanya, Hainan, offering baccarat and punto banco. It is quickly shut down by authorities.

2012 - The first poker event on Chinese soil is held at the MGM Grand.

2013 - Macau casino post record revenues of around $43bn combined.

2014 - An anti-corruption drive by the Chinese President Xi Jinping leads to a drop in revenue for major Macau casinos. Macau casinos record worst monthly revenues ever.

2018 - China considers legalising gambling on Hainan Island and relaxing visa rules for Chinese visitors.

2018 - Macau casinos see an upturn in their fortunes.

2019 - China records disappointing lottery figures. Nationwide lottery sales drop by 17.5% year-on-year to approximately $60.26bn. 

2020 – China’s anti-online gambling efforts intensify in order to crack down on ‘underground banks’ involved in gambling and fund payment channels.

China Online Gambling Sites FAQ

Strictly speaking, China law prohibits online gambling. However, many operators from other countries accept players from China at their online casinos. This page has a full rundown of China’s gambling laws and recommended online casino sites for Chinese players.

Though the country outlaws most forms of gambling, including online betting sites, there are still a number of internet casinos that safely accept Chinese players. We carefully vet and research our recommended sites to ensure you are playing at safe, trustworthy online casinos.

PayPal, UnionPay, and bank transfer are the most commonly accepted deposit methods for online casinos that accept players from China. 

Popular payment services AliPay and Tencent typically are not accepted at offshore casino sites accessible to Chinese players. Fortunately, there are still plenty of deposit and withdrawal methods on offer for you to choose from. 

Yes, you can get gambling bonuses at our top online casinos in China. Some sites offer welcome bonuses in addition to ongoing loyalty programs that reward you for frequent play. Read through our list of recommended online casinos for players in China to find out which bonuses are available to you.

Customer service is a top priority when we research top gambling sites. Our list of reputable online casinos stays true to this standard, and we ensure that you’ll always have a customer service representative available should you need to contact support. We have selected sites with top-notch customer support, and this includes service available in Chinese via live chat or email.

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