China’s Gambling Laws Are Getting Even Stranger
China is known for having some of the most restrictive gambling laws in the world. This week, the government here has taken a bizarre new step to restrict this industry even further. China’s gambling laws are changing once again. Will the new laws be effective?
Today, we’re going to be looking at the new set of gaming laws coming to this country. We’ll also be breaking down the reasons for the government to implement the new measure, and talking about what it means for the gambling industry here moving forward.
Changes to China’s Gambling Laws Over the Years
As we’ve already mentioned, officials in the Chinese government have made it clear they don’t want gambling in the country. The first true set of modern gambling laws in mainland China came all the way back in 1957.
In 1996, China once again updated its gaming laws. This time, then-leader Mao Zedong launched the “Cultural Revolution” that made virtually all forms of gambling, including mahjong, completely illegal. Heavy restrictions have been in place since this time.
Article 303 of China’s Criminal Law Code states that:
“whoever, for the purpose of profit, gathers people to engage in gambling, runs a gambling house or makes gambling his profession shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than three years, criminal detention or public surveillance and shall also be fined.”
On the surface, this makes it seem as if only those caught offering gambling services will be punished.
In reality, nearly all gambling activities in the country are completely forbidden. There is, however, a national lottery that locals can legally access. This week, the Chinese government announced new plans to crack down on the gambling industry.
Strange New Gambling Censorship Laws in China, Explained
China’s State Administration of Press and Publication announced new plans to begin censoring poker and mahjong gambling. From now on, any video games that feature gambling are banned throughout the country.
This government body is China’s new gambling authority. This group publicly states it wants to eliminate illegal gambling rings. Any games that feature, or focus on gambling will now be blacklisted.
Most people agree that this move will be unsuccessful. Mahjong has been a part of Chinese society for centuries. Attempting to remove this game from the public spotlight using video games is a stretch.
Not everyone is concerned. One of the leading marketing managers at a major Chinese mahjong and poker publisher states:
“It won’t affect us much because we are early to the market and have accumulated a big collection of licenses.”
Existing games are, obviously, going to be impossible to eliminate. Only new developers hoping to launch here will be affected by China’s gambling laws on the video game industry.
Online Gambling Laws in China Staying the Same
China takes the same hardline stance on land-based gambling as they do with the online industry. Today, it’s completely illegal for individuals in this country to gamble through any websites based abroad. The government has famously created the “Great Firewall of China” in an attempt to stop foreign gaming sites from operating in the country.
Despite measures against it, many Chinese citizens continue to play through gambling websites based in Europe. It’s very rare for these gamblers to face any legal trouble. The online market is extremely difficult for the government to effectively regulate.
It’s well-known that China supports gambling activities in Macau. Unfortunately, new laws on smoking inside casinos and a slowdown of the Chinese economy has lowered Macau’s gambling revenue substantially. Macau does not allow any forms of online gambling.
It’s clear that China is working even harder to curb all illegal gambling operations. China’s gambling laws are now affecting video games, and regulations over this industry may soon move into other parts of Chinese society. Interestingly, in other parts of the world including Japan and the Philippines, the gambling market is surging.
Do you think China’s gambling laws make sense? Will a ban on video games featuring mahjong and poker be effective? Let us know in the comment section below!
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