Mainland China law-enforcement authorities detected “over 7,200” cases of online gaming business in the country during 2019, leading to the arrest of an aggregate 25,000 suspects, said China’s Ministry of Public Security in a Monday statement. Online gambling is illegal in China. Macau is the only place in China where casino gambling is legal; and then only in land-based venues.
As a result of the mainland enforcement action against online activity, authorities had “confiscated” and “frozen” cash amounting to “over CNY18 billion” [US$2.6 billion], according to the statement.
The news – publicised in several mainland Chinese-language media outlets – cited some commentary by Sun Lijun, vice-minister of public security, on the enforcement. He was said to have been speaking at a Monday briefing involving several departments of the central government. It was attended also by representatives of the People’s Bank of China.
Mr Sun said that – thanks to enforcement – there had been a “continuous decrease” in the volume of bets involved and in the number of visits to online-gaming platforms. Enforcement had also led to a “surge” in the costs of cross-border payment settlement for such illegal operators.
But the vice-minister added authorities had to be alert to the fact Chinese consumers were still the “main target” for what he termed “international gaming businesses”. The “grey” operations of the online gambling sector was still an “active” issue, with “ever-changing” patterns in gaming capital settlement, the statement cited Mr Sun as saying.
It also noted the official had said the Chinese government would strengthen regulatory measures on lottery business and Internet-based games, as well as on the country’s external investments and China’s labour relations.
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