October 11, 2023 2 min read


China to Help the Philippines Crack Down on Illegal Offshore Gambling

Almost 400 Chinese nationals were recently repatriated, according to Reuters

China has confirmed its readiness to help the Philippines solve its illegal offshore gambling problem. This was announced by the former country’s embassy in Manila earlier today.

For reference, the Philippines continues to be targeted by illegal gambling operations operated by Chinese nationals, among others. Having cemented itself as a leading destination for gambling tourism, the Philippines constantly attracts such schemes, prompting the need for constant vigilance.  

The first offshore operations in the Philippines appeared in 2016, trying to profit from Chinese visitors who wished to gamble. Since gambling in China is illegal, unlicensed gambling operations in the Philippines boomed, attracting many tourists.

As reported by Reuters, China recently assisted its island neighbor with operations that saw the shutdown of three illegal gambling zones. As a result, almost 400 Chinese nationals who have participated in these operations were repatriated, according to the embassy.

China, which seeks to prevent its citizens from gambling as a whole, has now reiterated its commitment to helping the Philippines solve its illegal gambling issues.

In other news, the Philippines continues to reform its gambling sector. For example, Alejandro H. Tengco, chair of the PAGCOR, recently confirmed the association’s intentions to shift its focus to pure regulation.

Chinese Gambling Tourism in Australia

For years, Chinese tourists have had a noticeable effect on local economies. Australian operators, for example, have depended on affluent Chinese nationals for years, allowing them to gamble and even use UnionPay debit cards in stark violation of China’s gambling laws. One operator even ran an unlicensed cage on its premises, allowing Chinese agents with dubious intentions to play and potentially launder money.

However, these violations eventually prompted probes into the businesses of some of Australia’s leading casino & hospitality operators, including Star Entertainment and Crown Resorts. The companies experienced serious regulatory hurdles which almost cost them their licenses.

The companies were forced to adopt stricter protocols, lest they risk further penalties. This, paired with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and China’s zero-COVID policy led to a sharp decline in Chinese tourists visiting Australia for gambling. Even now that the restrictions have been lifted, the influx of tourists continues to be suboptimal.

Experts advised gambling operators to not count on Chinese tourists for revenue and to find new revenue streams, at least for the time being.  


Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at GamblingNews.com is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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