Gambling Trip Organizers to Receive Prison Sentences in China

According to a recent change to China’s Criminal Law, organizers of overseas trips with the intent to gamble may face charges and a sentence of up to 10 years. The tough measure may be a part of China’s crackdown on gambling and comes into effect on March 1 next year.

Changes to Criminal Law Incriminate Organizers of Gambling Trips

The latest change in China’s Criminal Law enables courts to issue prison sentences over trips organized with the intent to gamble. Organizers of such trips overseas would be arrested and if found guilty may face a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

The tough measure is effective from March 1, 2021, and it applies to Chinese residents and foreigners. The latest change in the Chinese Criminal Law was approved last week by China’s National People’s Congress.

According to the official news agency of the People’s Republic of China, Xinhua, “organizers” who are found guilty of “serious” violations may receive the maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. This would also be applicable if a significant amount of money is involved or in certain cases deemed to have had “grave consequences”, said the news agency. With that in mind, Xinhua has not disclosed further details determining what amount would be considered “serious” or what circumstances would be considered to bring “grave consequences“.

China’s Crackdown on Gambling Continues

Although the new measure is not coming into effect for another 3 months, the proposal for the changes surfaced back in October. Back then, the Ministry of Public Security in collaboration with the Supreme People’s Procuratorate released a guideline describing crimes related to overseas gambling.

Focusing on Macau, we are yet to see if the tough measure would impact the gambling market and its recovery. This is mainly because the new restriction applies to “mainland territory”, but Macau is considered a Special Administrative Region of China.

The latest move may be a part of China’s plan to decrease the flow of money to foreign land casinos. In fact, according to a report released by the Ministry of Public Security in September, Chinese gamblers spent some $146 billion with foreign gambling operators. In its anti-gambling sweep, China has banned the popular travel platform TripAdvisor earlier this month. Besides the ban for TripAdvisor, the Chinese authorities have also banned more than 100 apps claiming those apps represented a threat to their well-being and national security.

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