As it stands, all forms of gambling save for two types of lotteries are still officially victims of the gambling ban that has been imposed by China’s government. While horse racing operations are allowed albeit to a very limited extent, sports betting has been banned completely with all the forms of gambling being confined to the autonomous region of Macau, the only place in China where casino gambling is allowed.
Hundreds Arrested in Illegal Online Gambling Ring
As part of the efforts to implement the gambling ban, the country’s authorities have recently dismantled a major illegal gambling ring and in the process arrested over 100 suspects – this was done in two separate and effectively coordinated operations. The antigambling administration of China has also been working diligently against land-based gambling operators.
The raid on online gambling rings reportedly involves 13 different gambling websites with over 100,000 registered users who had collectively wagered over RMB350 million ($55 million) before the crackdown. The investigation began in February after Chinese authorities received a tip that a local firm had been renting out its servers and providing technical support for unauthorized online gambling operators. Since then, the number of people that have been arrested for being suspects in the online gambling rings has reached 453, and this could be an indication how deep-rooted the activity is.
Is Moving Gambling Operations to Hainan the Answer?
A number of industry experts do not believe that the country’s island of Hainan could become the next Chinese casino hub, much like Macau. The experts believe that such a decision would be made by the government and at the moment it would be a long shot to think that the Chinese government would allow such a thing. However, if by some miracle this goes through, the casino industry experts have expressed a lot of optimism that the island, which is considered to be China’s “Hawaii” could open doors for several kinds of sports lotteries.
A couple of months ago, there were reports that the government had been considering legalizing some forms of gambling on Hainan Island. This came to pass later in April 2018, when the government officially revealed that it was going to officially legalize horse racing as well as many other types of sports lotteries on the island. The move was part of the country’s bid to turn the island into the largest pilot free-trade port.
While this would have effectively ended the gambling monopoly of Macau, it will take some time before it officially begins. In fact, according to Su Guojing, gambling sector expert, and founder of the China Lottery Industry Salon, casino gambling outside Macau contradicted to the overall ideology and legislation in China. As such, it was nearly impossible for the Chinese government to allow the establishment of land-based casinos outside Macau, at least not for the moment.