China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism said in a Tuesday statement that it would add more overseas destinations to its “blacklist system” for cross-border gambling tourist destinations, according to Xinhua news agency, a state-run outlet. As with earlier official mentions of China’s overseas-gambling blacklist, the latest announcement didn’t identify the places concerned.
Xinhua cited the ministry as saying in the latest update that it and “relevant departments” would “make a list of the second batch of overseas destinations that attract Chinese tourists for gambling activities, which will be subsequently added to the system”.
China’s so-called “blacklist system” for overseas gambling destinations was first announced in August, to “better regulate the tourism market and safeguard the lives and property of Chinese citizens,” said the ministry at the time.
The blacklist was established with support from the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Public Security, said the announcement.
“Travel restrictions will be imposed on Chinese citizens heading to overseas cities and scenic areas on the list,” the Chinese authorities stated.
Investment analysts have previously said China’s backlist system was seen as a “gentle warning” to emerging gambling jurisdictions in Southeast Asia, such as Cambodia, the Philippines or Vietnam, and possibly to Australia – destinations where a vast majority of VIP demand is said to come from China, predominantly via junket operators.
Under a change in mainland China criminal law – approved in December and with effect from March 1 – anyone who “organises” mainland Chinese for the purpose of overseas gambling will be deemed to have committed a criminal act.
In October, China’s Ministry of Public Security said it had identified in the first nine months of 2020, the equivalent of nearly US$150 billion that had been due to exit the country for “cross-border” gambling activities. The ministry launched in June a web-based platform, in Chinese and English, for the public to report “cross-border gambling” as well as “telecom frauds”.
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“Amendment to the gaming law is still a work in progress ... We need to wait for further details, in terms of the finer form that the amendments will take, and there will be additional regulatory measures that will be potentially issued thereafter”
Chief operating officer of Sands China