Gambling industry in China

The People's Republic of China is one of the most powerful and developed countries in the world, an industry giant and tourism hub.  All business areas, including gambling industry, are well developed and operate efficiently in this third largest country of the world.

The Chinese are known for their diligence and businesslike character, but another characteristic feature of this nation is passion for games. Gambling appeared in China many centuries ago, and is tightly connected with culture and history of the country. Not for nothing the most famous game content manufacturers offer Asian-themed games, where symbols and attributes of oriental culture are used. Moreover there is a wide range of Asian games, which may pose an alternative to classic table and card games: Sic Bo, Mahjong, Chinese poker (with 13 cards), fan-tan, etc.

The Chinese love playing games of chance and enjoy their time on casino gambling floors.

What rules does gambling business follow on the territory of the vast country with population of over 1 billion people? What laws regulate this industry?

Gambling legislation and locations in China

At the beginning of the 20th century Shanghai was the center of gambling in China. Since then the times and government have changed, the shape of Chinese colonial territories has also changed. And nowadays the single gambling location there is Macao, where almost the whole gambling industry of the country is concentrated (it’s a former Portuguese colony, which became part of the PRC in 1999, a town located on the coast of the South China Sea). Eastern Monte Carlo, another Las Vegas – are various names of this gorgeous gambling hub, where Chinese people can satisfy their thirst for playing, and tourists from all over the world can enjoy the hospitality of Asian people. It is this town that has managed to overtake Las Vegas in terms of gambling turnover for several times.

There are more than 30 casinos with classical table and card games, slot machines in Macao. The largest casino in the world, the Venetian Macau, is also located in Macao. The town provides all conveniences for its visitors, featuring lots of hotels, restaurants, bars, stores and dancing clubs, which offer various entertainment shows.

Since 2002 foreigners can open casinos in Macao. This fact attracted a lot of attention from investors from different parts of the world.

Various lotteries are also legal on the territory of China, and horserace betting is allowed in Macao and Hong Kong.

Interesting facts about Chinese gambling industry

Naturally Chinese culture differs from European, and has definite peculiarities, though after the arrival of foreign casinos (mostly American) the general atmosphere and strict rules softened in Macao.  Generally, a tourist from any country will feel himself very comfortable while visiting a casino.  But one should not forget about rules. For instance, in most cases it is required to follow the dress code, to avoid quarrelling with guards, to carry proof of identity, as only people over 18 years old are allowed to enter casinos, etc.

It is interesting that local officials are not allowed to play in Chinese casinos, and it is forbidden to take cameras and other large appliances. Apart from that, general rules are the same as in the rest of the world.

Onboard casinos constitute another interesting characteristic of gambling business in China.  Onboard cruise ship gambling floors are open for all Chinese people who cannot afford visiting Macao. Players come on board in Hong Kong and set off on a voyage to neutral waters, where they can play casino games without breaking the law.

Profitability of Chinese gambling industry

China holds leading positions in the world in terms of profitability of gambling industry, constantly competing with the USA for the first place. Despite continual fluctuation in profitability, connected with government anticorruption campaign, outflow of high rollers from Macao, government’s unwillingness to increase the amount of gambling zones in the country and to legalize online casinos, every year gambling revenues in China reach billions of dollars and make up over 50% of budget revenues.

A considerable part of total gambling revenue is generated by developers of mobile games in China. Developers’ revenues have risen beyond $5.5 billion, and this figure can reach $11-12 billion by 2019.

Besides, such gambling sector as e-sports is well developed in China. There is a state program that encourages e-sports development and supports players, who annually take first places at international tournaments. Despite the fact that the official sale of e-sports software is forbidden, Chinese game studios supply ingenious developments for foreign companies. Working on an outsource basis, Chinese developers get huge salaries.

Online casinos in China

It should be noted that online gambling is strictly prohibited in China and has been almost completely eradicated. The government adheres to the strict policy, prohibiting any kinds of online gambling.  Even those websites that provide implicit information about gambling sites are persecuted.

Of course Chinese people visit various foreign online casinos, whose operators provide services in their language. But in the PRC activities of such institutions are strictly penalized.

The main reason why this gambling sector is not being developed and why it has little chances of moving out of shadow economy is the lack of demand for this business segment in terms of national economy. If the situation changes and revenues from land-based casinos in Macao start decreasing drastically, it will become possible that Chinese government will reconsider their attitude towards online segment.

The future of Chinese gambling industry

In 2015 Macao registered an unprecedented revenue drop in the last few years. Many high rollers left this gambling zone, the flow of foreign gamblers also decreased due to tightened rules for visiting Macao. Thus, visa rules were changed, working conditions of junket operators got worse, etc. Such governmental measures caused public outcry among representatives of Macao gambling zone.

But experts claim that this year will be the last one when Chinese gambling industry suffers from losses. In the nearest future the situation will stabilize, the anticorruption campaign will come to end, and the government, which fully realizes the importance of this industry for the country, will create more comfortable conditions for business development.

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