The Chinese government has announced tangible steps to crack down on iGaming in 2020.
Ministry of Public Security deputy minister Sun Lijun has laid out the increased measures the Chinese government is taking to combat illegal, cross-border online gambling through a project led by State Councillor and Minister of Public Security Zhao Kezhi.
The Ministry will promote inter-departmental cooperation to tackle illegal activities, starting with promoting the country's Sports and Welfare Lotteries as the country's sole legal form of gambling.
Crack Down on Neighbours Policy
Focusing on countries whose operators most target Chinese consumers, these directives extend China's new policy of cracking down on online operators, which in 2019 led to the shutdown of neighbouring Cambodia iGaming industry completely, and major closures in neighboring Philippines despite President Duterte's staunch resistance.
The 21 departments signed to cooperate so far on this initiative include the Central Propaganda Department; the Central Cyberspace Office; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Security, reporting to the Ministry of Public Security.
China Enforcement to Date
China has already reduced in the number of gambling platforms accessible from the country.
More 2019 iGaming figures released by the Chinese government to inform the initiative include reported public security agency findings of over 7,200 criminal cases of online gambling, resulting in arrests of 25,000 people, and frozen or seized funds totaling over CNY18bn (£2.00bn/€2.34bn/$2.61bn) in “gambling-related funds.”
Breaking the Myths
The reports give shape to supposed fear-mongering references to harsh crackdowns in China, in a jurisdiction which forbids online gambling save in the island jurisdiction of Macau. The government's efforts to crack down are not as draconian as one might want to believe, even if they cut into profits for operators eager to face China.
The fact is at this time, the government in China is not allowing online gambling except in its designated regions, so any enforcement of this law may be seen as unfair or characterised as draconian to outside stakeholders. However, those wanting a piece of the pie in China would do best to respect and accept these measures as consistent with the local letter of law until overturned or otherwise designated by formal legislation within the jurisdiction itself.