China ramps up crackdown on offshore gambling
Authorities in China have outlined a series of plans to crack down on offshore gambling groups who solicit locals to gamble online.
Inside Asian Gaming reports that the Cyberspace Administration of China held a meeting recently as part of the 2021 National Working Group on Combating and Governing Cross-border Gambling Networks to outline its expectations around combating cross-online gaming on the internet.
The meeting saw CAC Deputy Director Niu Yibing direct all departments and website platforms to enhance their monitoring of overseas gambling syndicates that use the internet to attract gamblers.
Niu said China’s efforts to combat cross-border gambling are entering a “critical stage” and called on all departments to “further improve their political positions, strengthen their sense of responsibility and urgency in cracking down on governance and earnestly regard cracking down on cross-border online gambling as an important political task in the practice of two safeguards”.
In announcing the renewed focus on cross-border gambling, the CAC said it has outlined four key measures it plans to take in order to target and punish those who operate or facilitate gambling groups.
The first, it said, is to strengthen “precision strikes” by targeting overseas gambling groups using the internet, to recruit China’s citizens for gambling via online promotion chains and gambling-related livestreams, short videos, social media and other online platforms.
The CAC vowed to severely punish online platforms that provide paid promotion services for overseas gambling and disseminate “harmful information related to gambling”.
The second measure will see increased monitoring of blockchain platforms and a crack down on the provision of server hosting, network cloud storage, communication transmission and VPN services for online gambling activities.
The third will be at website platforms, to promote information sharing and resource integration and to strengthen social reporting and supervision by mobilising internet users to actively report gambling information and illegal websites.
Finally, the CAC described establishing a “game of chess” by which departments will coordinate resources both domestically and overseas, working together to “resolutely curb the spread of cross-border online gambling activities, and create a good online atmosphere and social environment for celebrating the centenary of the founding of the party and a smooth start of the 14th Five-Year Plan.”
The CAC underlined that combating cross-border online gaming is a significant political task, which aims at maintaining economic security and social stability.
This week’s meeting represents the latest in a series of recent announcements by China around cross-border gambling, with the Ministry of Public Security vowing to crack down on cross-border gambling syndicates and the People’s Bank of China pledging to target “capital chains” within the financial sector.
China has also outlined plans to crack down on the investment and trading of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin mining, which led to a number of high-profile companies halting plans to invest in the sector.
Cryptocurrencies on radar in China
State-owned media in China has reported that the country has enhanced supervision on all virtual currencies in order to fend off financial risks of the virtual currency business.
The statement immediately drew reaction from companies impacted, including a subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Suncity Group, Sun International Group Limited, which announced that it had reached an agreement to purchase 1,000 sets of cryptocurrency miners to diversify its business streams.
Sun International said: “In light of the statement made by the State Council’s Financial Stability and Development Committee on Bitcoin mining and trading activities, the Group instructed the relevant service provider to suspend the cryptocurrency miner operating service, pending further discussion with each other.
The crackdown comes as China continues to expand trials of its own Digital RMB, a digital currency that is expected to be put into full circulation by 2024.
The Digital RMB will likely have significant implications for Macau too, with Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng recently revealing the special administrative region will amend its financial laws to allow for the introduction of China’s Digital RMB in the future.