The State of Gambling in China

In 2013 there were over 7,000 Chinese officials punished for gambling offences in the country’s attempt to crack down on illegal gambling. Apparently over 7,162 officials were punished for their involvement, (living in more than 30 cities and provinces throughout China.)

From all of these locations it was the Hejlang and Guangdong provinces that reported the most cases (1,575 and 1,127 cases respectively.) There as yet to be any details released on the type of punishments which were dealt out but there are some reports that suggest that officials were given anywhere from warning to administrative punishments.

Gambling in Taiwan is illegal and prohibited by the Criminal Code of the Republic of China with only State-run lotteries such as the Uniform Invoice Lottery being the only legal form of gambling on mainland Taiwan. There have been some constructions of casinos on various off-shore islands and this was legalised in 2009 (although as yet there have not been any built) and some gambling-style games like the card game Mahjong are allowed on special days or under restricted circumstances.

In recent year online gambling sites have become very popular with Taiwanese citizens who are looking for a form of gaming which is not offered in Taiwan and also one that offers better odds than the State-run lotteries. This turning away from the State lotteries has led to huge losses by the banks that run them, and by 2003 there were in excess of 2,000 online gaming sites available to those who live in Taiwan.

It was reported by the deputy commander for technology at the Criminal Investigation Division of Keelung city that ‘ The abundance of illegal gambling websites proved difficult to crack down upon due to their high mobility, let alone the legal websites, which have resulted in many social problems, as gamblers do not know whom to seek help from for their addictions.’

The Criminal Investigation Bureau announced in 2003 that is was referring 300 Taiwanese customer of the UK based online gaming site Sportingbet, for prosecution with the company maintaining its call that it had done nothing wrong and had not breached Taiwan’s’ law.

In January of last year (2013) Taiwanese authorities announced that they were in the process of investigating the transfer (alleged) of US180 million from Taiwanese gamblers to casinos in Macau by the Taiwan based branch of Melco Crown which is the joint venture of Hong Kong based MeInInternational and the Australian based Crown Limited. Crown Resorts Limited is one of Australia’s largest gaming and entertainment groups which enjoyed at June 2010 a market capitalisation of in excess of A$6 billion. In September 2013 the Sri Lankan government gave its permission to Packer to invest in a two tower building in the very heart of the Sri Lankan capital Colombo and the project is hoped to be completed by 2015.

In February of 2013 the Taiwan authorities revealed that they were investigating claim that some desperate gamblers, who look for any opportunity to place a bet, had actually formed a betting ring so that they could bet on the life expectancy of terminally ill cancer patients. Some reports also suggest that the families of poor patients had even agreed to take part because it allowed them to pay for a decent funeral when their relative died. In March 2013 a so called ‘mid-level’ prosecutor was indicted on unrelated corruption charges following the accusation that she was found to have covered up illegal gambling operations and had also pressured other prosecutors to stop their investigations of illegal gaming operations.

*The Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) is responsible for the investigation of high-profile crimes, forensics and computer related crimes.

Information sourced from and