The $24 Billion Online Casino Boom China Is Struggling to HaltJanuary 9, 2020
The $24 Billion Online Casino Boom China Is Struggling to Halt
As early as 6:30 am, China’s Guangdong Club online betting platform is bustling with a continuous flow of wagers being placed by punters. Registered in Costa Rica, the club hosts operators who offer hundreds of sessions for famous games like blackjack, baccarat, sports betting, and lotteries, mostly in the Chinese language. One baccarat table can attract betting volumes amounting to $10,500 in just 30 seconds.
Although this digital gambling is allowing Chinese to bet from their home country, it’s a perennial issue for China’s Communist Party. The leading party has claimed that the activity is drawing hundreds of Yuan millions from the country.
To Beijing, betting is a crime that intensifies social unrest. Chinese law forbids both online and mainland gambling. However, the anonymity that the Internet era offers has Chinese punters filling digital gaming halls all the time. Consequently, the gambling industry in Asia is growing fast, as market researcher Technavio expects the sales to hit $24 billion this year.
Although Beijing has tried lobbying neighboring countries like the Philippines and Cambodia to close down the gambling industry, the efforts have proved futile. It looks these countries lack the incentive to stop the lucrative business. Since it’s a cross-border business, China can only go so far.
Guangdong hosts virtual gaming halls that operate from Cambodia and the Philippines. In these countries, it is lawful for gambling sites to cater to international players. Moreover, Costa Rica, where Guangdong is registered, doesn’t ban online casinos that offer betting services overseas.
According to the Chinese government, gambling fosters telecommunication fraud and lures its citizens into illegally working in the Philippines. Through the low betting limits, gambling platforms enchant low-income punters who feel gambling could enhance their standard of living. Also, it is causing funds to leave the country’s economy to companies that do not remit taxes to Beijing.
All is not lost, however, as China’s neighbors agree to some of its demands. Cambodia, for instance, responded to pressure from Beijing by announcing that it is not going to issue any novel casino licenses and it won’t renew expiring ones.
China has recently directed most of its pushback at the Philippines, a country where gambling sites have led to a boom in the economy. The Philippines announced that it won’t accept new license applications until the year closes. However, China wants to see a full ban.
Meanwhile, two multimillion-dollar gaming halls are set to be opened soon in Manila. The Philippine gaming agency’s head, Andrea Domingo, said the business is legal and that casinos won’t stop operating.