China Continues Its Major Clampdown on Cross-Border Gambling

  • The Ministry of Public Security detailed the results of 17,000+ police investigations
  • Police have apprehended nearly 110,000 people and taken down 3,400+ illegal gambling sites
  • The authorities plan to strengthen links with nearby nations to aid the crackdown efforts
  • Further overseas gambling-related destinations are set to become part of the Chinese blacklist
  • Many illegal operators target mainland China because of its lack of a legal online gambling sector
playing cards and Chines currency on a keyboard
The Chinese authorities have revealed strong results to date in their crackdown on illegal cross-border gambling. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Strong results to date

The Ministry of Public Security in China has given update about efforts to crack down on cross-border gambling. Through a variety of national and special operations, China has managed to reverse the increasing trend of the activity, illegal in the country.

authorities managed to take down over 3,400 online gambling sites

Over the past year, police in China conducted investigations into over 17,000 cross-border gambling cases. These efforts led to police apprehending almost 110,000 people. The authorities managed to take down over 3,400 online gambling sites, as well as more than 2,800 underground banks and illegal payment platforms. During a special meeting on the matter, State Councilor and Minister of Public Security Zhao Kezhi acknowledged the efforts to date in tackling this form of illegal gambling.

He reiterated that the authorities need to maintain this tough approach going forward. Zhao said that the heaviest measures should be in store for those people with involvement in illegal cross-border gambling. The goal of this heavy-handed approach is to act as a strong deterrent for people to break the law.  

Continuing to apply pressure

The Ministry of Public Security has no plan to ease off on its pursuit of illegal gambling operations in order to “sustain the economic security and public stability of China.”

Going forward, a key aim is for the Ministry of Public Security to strengthen its relationships with nearby nations and take a more collaborative approach to the crackdown. It also plans to add to overseas destinations that are trying to attract tourists from China to gamble to its blacklist. The names of the destinations that are currently on the blacklist are not publicly available.

As a result of alleged involvement in illegal cross-border gambling, China’s National Immigration Administration revealed last week that it has invalidated the passports of a number of people. These people will not be able to leave China for three years.

The Public Security Department in Guangdong province has also called upon any residents who have involvement in cross-border gambling crimes to hand themselves over to the authorities by April 30. In return for their cooperation, they will receive leniency. On March 1, the amended criminal code in China came into effect which makes it illegal for anyone to assist in cross-border gambling.

Working alongside nearby nations

Gambling is big business in Asia and huge sums are gambled in the legal and illegal gambling sectors every year. Most forms of gambling are illegal in mainland China, the main exception being the state-run lotteries.

As it has such a large population, many operators of illegal gambling platforms see mainland China as a potentially lucrative market. These operators often base themselves in nearby countries, which is why the Chinese authorities try to work closely with officials in places like the Philippines, Vietnam, and Cambodia.

The Chinese authorities have called upon these nations to also crackdown hard on illegal gambling rings that largely target people in mainland China. Cambodia responded to these requests by banning all forms of online gambling operations in the country. While the Philippines still acts as a base for online gambling operators, the country works with China to make sure these operations do not target people in mainland China.