Chinese Authorities Made Over 80,000 Cross-Border Gambling Arrests in 2021

  • The 80,000+ arrests resulted from over 17,000 investigations
  • Chinese authorities shut down over 2,200 illegal online gambling operations
  • Many state departments work together to battle cross-border gambling
  • State-run lotteries are the primary legal gambling offering available in mainland China
Silhouette of person listening to headphones with Chinese flag in the background
China’s more than 17,000 investigations into cross-border gambling resulted in over 80,000 arrests in 2021. [Image:]

Significant results

The Ministry of Public Security in China investigated over 17,000 cases of cross-border gambling last year. There were over 80,000 arrests as a result of the investigations, as well as the closure of more than 2,200 illegal online gambling operations and more than 1,600 illegal payment platforms.

made it illegal for people to take part in cross-border gambling

Over 1,100 suspects also voluntarily surrendered both domestically and overseas last year. People who had involvement in cross-border gambling crimes were given the chance to hand themselves over to the authorities by April 30, 2021. In return for doing so, they were given leniency. On March 1 last year, an amendment to China’s criminal code took effect that made it illegal for people to take part in cross-border gambling.

Plenty of collaboration

There has been a focused effort in China to crack down on levels of cross-border gambling. The Ministry of Public Security, the body in charge of the crackdown, collaborates with many other aspects of the government, including the departments of culture and tourism, foreign affairs, immigration management, finance, and internet information. These departments are committed to continuing the battle against cross-border gambling, particularly those overseas gambling operations that target citizens of China. The People’s Bank of China is also among the groups that contribute to the crackdown efforts.

The Chinese authorities operate a 24/7 tip line relating to cross-border gambling. It received over 60,000 tips over the course of last year.

According to a statement on the matter from the Ministry of Public Security, the efforts to date have been successful in “wiping out the gambling recruitment and attraction networks, money laundering and other illegal monetary channels of many large, overseas gambling groups in China.”

It has also proclaimed the curbing of the promotion of cross-border gambling effective thanks to a “special governance campaign” that led to the closure of numerous online gambling operations. There are reportedly gambling destinations that aim to attract tourists from China. Many of these destinations are now part of a blacklist, but there have been no details provided as to the exact locations that are on the blacklist.

Limited gambling options

Gambling is massively popular across Asia, with a large amount of money going toward both legal and illegal gambling every year. Currently, most types of gambling are illegal in mainland China, except for state-run lotteries.

The island of Macau is where people from mainland China can go to gamble legally. However, there have been issues since the beginning of the pandemic because of travel restrictions. There is currently a ban in place on people from overseas visiting Macau, while there have been curtailments on people going to Macau from certain provinces in China as a result of COVID-19 case numbers.

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