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China Cracks down on Major Illegal Online Gambling RingPublished November 22, 2015 by Lee R
Only state-sponsored lotteries are allowed in the world's largest gambling market.
The arrest tally is at 98 for an expanding illegal online gambling net in China.
Tens of Billions in Bets
The South China Morning Post and local media news reported last Tuesday that the Chinese police made the arrests on the basis of $78 billion in illegal bets collected by unauthorized online gambling networks in this latest bust.
Long Time Coming
This activity comes on the heels of shut-downs of 12 gambling dens since July in
the southern provinces of Hunan and Guangdong that were only now disclosed, according to Xinhua news.
Six months of planning for Operation 109 went into the bust. The police action only came to light when it was announced by the Ministry of Public security.
The individuals apprehended are under suspicion of overseeing a sophisticated and far-reaching illegal gambling network that had opened more than 500 online casinos, and hosted an estimated 1 million members.
How It Worked
The gambling websites were able to operate using a cover of closed website disguises such as email, work or financial systems requiring log-ins.
The main server operated out of Taiwan while a customer service staff speaking Cantonese and Putonghua-speaking customer service operated out of Hong Kong, Thailand and the Philippines.
World's Largest Market
A state-sponsored lottery is the only legal form of wagering in China right now, with gambling illegal on the Chinese mainland since 1949.
In a country where gambling is a veritable national pastime China is home to the world's largest Internet market by number of users. As long as gambling is illegal, the best the government can do is make periodic busts on illegal online behavior. The latest round of crackdowns coincides with a general curtailing of expression online over the last two years that was ushered in by President Xi Jinping's ascendancy in 2013.
Last August, 15,000 people were arrested for crimes “jeopardizing Internet security,”
while website content deemed "illegal and harmful information" were curtailed, along with advertisements for pornography, explosives and firearms, and gambling.
More perpetrators and more channels are likely to surface as the investigation continues.