China’s Online Casino Industry Isn’t Slowing Down
Despite the government’s best efforts, China’s online casino industry isn’t slowing down. According to new reports, this country’s online gaming market is one of the largest in the world. Will the government eventually abandon its fight against gambling?
Today, we’re looking at what’s contributed to the massive rise of online gambling in China. We’ll also talk about how the Chinese government is responding.
Philippines and China Continue to Clash Over Online Gambling
The Philippines’ gambling industry has grown exponentially over the years. In the past, President Rodrigo Duterte worked hard to fight against gambling expansion. Not long ago, he changed his stance, claiming the fight against the gambling industry was over. Since that time, the country’s gaming market has expanded significantly.
PAGCOR, the country’s gambling authority, offers licenses to online gambling operators. Interestingly, these companies, called POGOs, are not allowed to provide online gambling services to Filipino players. Many of these POGOs now specifically target Chinese gamblers.
In China, almost all forms of gambling are banned. But this isn’t stopping companies from offering their services here. Many online gambling companies based in the Philippines even employ Chinese nationals. Recently, China’s government pushed back.
President Xi Jinping asked Duterte to shut down the Philippines’ online gambling industry. At first, it seemed likely that the president would comply with this request. Surprisingly, Duterte announced that he would not close off the internet gaming industry.
This decision wasn’t received well in China. Despite the government’s numerous crackdown attempts, China’s online casino industry is more popular than ever before.
China’s Online Casino Industry Is Now Worth Billions
The Chinese government views gambling as a vice that’s damaging to the country. Lawmakers here have set extremely strict regulations on the industry and punishes those caught gambling severely. Here, only a state-run lottery is available.
Recently, however, a huge number of online gambling portals have become available in China. As we’ve already mentioned, many of them are based in the Philippines. Some are also registered in countries like Costa Rica. The growth of China’s online casino industry is a serious concern for the government.
The Chinese online gambling market is expected to reach $24 billion in sales this year. It’s extremely difficult to shut down due to the international companies offering these betting platforms. China has no real jurisdiction to prosecute these foreign companies. The only option is to target individual players, which is proving extremely difficult.
Ben Lee, a Macau-based online gambling consultant, recently commented on the government’s difficulty in shutting down this industry.
“Many online gaming companies operate under the radar,” he said. “There are so many of them. It’s like China’s trying to whack a mole.”
It’s unclear how the government will respond to the rise in online gambling. If one thing is for sure, the current strategy isn’t working.
Macau’s Gambling Revenue Continues to Decline
As we’ve already mentioned, China bans almost all forms of gambling. In Macau, a Chinese territory, gambling is the primary source of revenue. Many of the biggest and best casinos in the world are based here. Unfortunately, this territory is struggling to make money right now.
The US-Chinese trade war has taken a serious toll on Macau. China’s economy is struggling right now and, as a result, less Chinese gamblers are visiting and gambling in Macau. For almost all of 2019, this territory’s gaming revenue has decreased.
China’s online casino industry is having an effect on Macau’s gambling revenue. More Chinese individuals here are realizing how much easier it is to place wagers over the internet. This isn’t stopping many casino operators from investing in Macau, though.
A number of companies, including Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts, continue to invest in their Macau properties. Officials in these companies believe that, in time, gambling revenue here will recover.
China’s online casino industry isn’t slowing down. Let us know how you think the government should respond to this issue in the comments section below!
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