China Hits 10 Individuals with $900K Penalties for Illegal Gambling

Beijing has once again sent an unequivocal message to those who think they can flaunt the country’s draconian anti-gambling measures. China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchanges (SAFE) has confirmed that ten individuals have been issued cumulative fines to the tune of $900,000 in a case pertaining to illegally remitted funds for the purposes of gambling. The largest of those penalties included a $260,000 fine to a Mr. Cai, who managed to transmit $1.7 million via 35 illegal foreign exchange transactions. 

China Remains Determined to Eradicate Gambling 

The funds were related to overseas gambling activities, which put the culprits at odds with the country’s anti-gambling laws that prohibit participation in any games of chance, foreign or domestic, outside the state lottery. China began numerous operations against individuals involved in cross-border gambling. A total of 110,000 suspects were apprehended as of April this year, GamblingNews reported

While the country’s authorities have been able to eliminate much of the domestic illicit gambling activity, there seem to be continuous attempts to move gambling outside Beijing’s jurisdiction, and part of that includes the remittance of money for gambling abroad. 

SAFE detailed that the ten individuals were using underground banks and POS machines bought at domestic merchants. The operations took place between April 2017 and January 2020. In a statement shared by IAG, the state regulator said, “The State Administration of Foreign Exchange has strengthened the supervision of the foreign exchange market, severely cracking down on the illegal buying and selling of funds involved in cross-border gambling and maintain a healthy foreign exchange market.”

SAFE added that the fines issued in the ten cases were “typical behavior,” which could indicate that SAFE is in the process of issuing more similar fines.

Controlling Traveling, the Internet, and More 

China previously introduced a blacklist of tourist destinations, with the government claiming that those locations were purposefully targeting and luring Chinese nationals for the purposes of visiting casinos and other gambling establishments.

The country even suspended access to TripAdvisor as part of a broader gambling crackdown at the end of 2020. China has reached out to Cambodia and the Philippines to search for local support in shutting down what it considers operations that illegally target its citizens. 

Cross-border gambling remains one of the hottest issues for the country, which is gunk-ho against all mentions of gambling these days. Change is coming to Macau, where sub-concessions are now possibly going to disappear. 

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