China Continues to Fight Against Gambling, $183M Illegal Ring Busted

China might have cracked on the biggest illegal organized gambling ring so far, halting operations to the extent of $183 million, some part of which directed towards high-stakes play in Macau, a recent report by the Asian newsletter GGRAsia suggests.

Police in mainland China’s Nantong city in Jiangsu province announced 18 people, led by a ringleader with tight connections to the Special Administrative Region, identified only by the surname Shi, had been active for over a decade in running illegal gambling, as well as facilitating Chinese people to go to Macau to gamble.

In mainland China, operations or promotions of casino gambling activities, either land-based or online is illegal, as is any form of marketing of such gambling outside the mainland’s borders, including Macau.

Decade of Illegal Gambling

In 2018, Nantong’s Public Security Bureau said, the group attracted the attention of the authorities with regards to potential online gambling and organization of travels abroad for gambling purposes. It has been determined that Mr Shi and accomplices were involved since 2007 with arrangements for business people from mainland China to travel to Macau to gamble, where the ringleader is also an owner of an investment business, while his accomplices were holding several casino accounts.

The group had been implementing a commission scheme from rolling chip volume, as well as profit sharing via a multiplier system. The multiplier is an approach where both the casino and the player agree that the bets will be multiplied by a pre-set multiplier, thus hiding the real amount of the aggregate wagers. The approach is forbidden in the Special Administrative Region as it dodges the gaming tax, but Macau government admitted it was hard to identify.

Case Successfully Concluded

After several months of collecting evidence in Jiangsu, Guangdong, Hebei, Shandong and Macau, the investigation into the group’s dealing was concluded in 2018, with all involved in the illegal gambling ring prosecuted in February 2019 and matters eventually coming before Nantong Intermediate People’s Court early in 2020.

Investigation found out the organized group had used violent means with regards to chasing gaming debts from players struggling to pay up. Methods included unlawful detention, as well as harassment of gaming patrons’ relatives and staff in mainland China.

The ring leader, Mr Shi, was judged for gambling crime, running illicit casino business and unlawful detention, getting 16 years of jail term. He was also dished a significant financial penalty, Nantong’s Public Security Bureau informed in its statement.

China government has been showing its resolve to oust illegal gambling for years, even going to extremes whenever necessary. In February, passports of Chinese residents working for online gambling operators in the Philippines have been cancelled, as an attempt to clamp down on the issue that affects the country.

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