The Chinese government continues its push against all forms of gambling by strictly enforcing its laws against even advertising and promoting this activity. The government has forbidden all forms of gambling, and it is only tolerated in the autonomous territory of Macau.
In a worrying new development, the Chinese government has arrested a number of employees of popular casino operator Crown Resorts Ltd. Eighteen Chinese and three Australian employees of the casino were arrested initially because of their work involving the promoting of gambling to high rollers from China. This is the first time that the Chinese government has directly targeted the practice of Chinese travelling abroad to gamble.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop confirmed that three citizens of the country had been formally charged by Chinese officials and were in custody at that time.
Ms. Bishop also added that consular officials would soon be granted access to the Australians.
The Chinese government has been under a lot of criticism because of its restriction of its citizens’ civil rights. When it comes to gambling as it does to many other illegal activities, the Chinese impose many harsh penalties on people who break the law. People who are caught managing online gaming sites, and even the ones who advertise these services on their sites, are punished severely. The government is going so far as to target live streamers because it suspects they have been busy advertising land and internet based casinos operating in different parts of the world. Many of these live streamers have actually been promoting e-sports betting sites.
The Chinese Ministry Of Culture definitely takes its job of upkeeping socialist values very seriously. While this might have been a relatively easy task earlier, the spread of the internet has made the ministry’s job much more difficult. Even so, it is targeting people who use the internet to access websites that offer gambling and other banned activities.
The arrest of casino operator’s employees illustrates the risks associated with offering gambling services in countries where it is illegal. The fact that the online gambling industry operates across borders exposes these people to various levels of risk.
The gambling industry is also very concerned that the Chinese crackdown could damage business in the long term, especially from much desired high rollers. In fact, there are fears that the government has launched a new offensive against the business by targeting business located abroad that are eager to get Chinese business.
Casinos in Australia are eager to attract customers from China because this is a very large market. Not only do large numbers of Chinese tourists travel to Australia to gamble but there are also many high rollers from this market. Incidentally, approximately 12% of the turnover at Australian casinos comes from China which makes this a very important market indeed. If companies are unable to advertise in this market they are sure to lose out on potential revenues.
The Chinese crackdown has also created tremors in the New Zealand gambling industry.
Local gambling operator SkyCity also agreed that the industry would suffer if Chinese high rollers were unable or unwilling to travel abroad to gamble. Even so SkyCity Entertainment Group chief John Mortensen said that while his company valued business from China it would always comply by the country’s laws. Incidentally, foreign gamblers contribute 15% of the company’s revenues. SkyCity received around 9% of the international gambling business in Australasia, with 50% of the customers originating in China. The company would be looking to other countries in Asia to bring in VIP players.
The situation has also made gaming operators in Macau feel jittery, and they are careful to follow all laws scrupulously.