Chinese Government Starting Probe On Foreign Gambling Influence

China has sent another stern warning to operators and individuals who engage in cross-border gambling that target Chinese citizens in Mainland China and lure them to overseas casinos and online casinos. China recently made changes to its criminal code making it illegal from March 1 for anyone to assist in cross-border gambling.

A joint announcement by three mainland law-enforcement bodies encouraged mainland Chinese residents who have committed cross-border gambling crimes to turn themselves in or report such crimes before 01 April, 2021 and in return they will gain leniency when it comes to the consequences. The three agencies that made the announcement were the Ministry of Public Security, the Supreme People’s Court, and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate.

China Will Enforce Rule Change

The Chinese government is increasing its pressure on junket operators and organizations who encourage Chinese residents to engage in overseas gambling activities and online gambling. However, experts say that this pressure is not directed at Macau’s casino operations.

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Liao Jinrong, director of the international cooperation department at the Public Security ministry confirmed that 35,000 people have already been targeted by legal enforcement throughout China. Mr. Liao says that this is only the beginning and the ministry hopes to paralyze the network that encourages cross-border gambling, especially when they originate from outside of China. It is not just the backers and investors that they will be targeting but the staff and technicians that are pushing these illegal activities.

Li Ruiyi, a judge of China’s Supreme People’s Court, says that the change to China’s criminal code makes it clear that Beijing is serious about tackling cross-border gambling. The judge made it clear that this covers both gambling outside of China and online gambling. The penalties brought about by this new change will fall mainly on casino operators, investors, and managers. Additionally, anyone who profits from casinos and gaming rooms will be targeted.

Will Macau Be Protected?

The Macau government which derives most of its income from its casino industry is working closely together with China to ensure that no agencies or individuals facilitate cross-border gambling from within Macau.

Macau has witnessed a significant decrease in junket operators during the last 5 years. Junket operators specialize in bringing over VIP gamblers and high stake gamblers to casinos in Macau and other countries like Australia, Vietnam, South Korea, Cambodia and the Philippines. While the crackdown does not directly target Macau’s casinos, junket operators based out of Macau will think twice of ferry VIP gamblers out of China due to the new criminal law change.