China to publish casino blacklist to prevent locals gambling

by Noah Taylor Last Updated
China to publish casino blacklist to prevent locals gambling

China said it will publish a list of foreign casinos that target high rollers and ban its citizens from travelling to those venues.

Casino.org reports China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism said that it has established the blacklist of casinos in overseas cities that market to Chinese tourists.

Nearly all forms of gambling are illegal in mainland China, the exception being the state-run lottery.

Commercial casinos are found in nearby Macau.

“Casinos in overseas cities attract Chinese tourist to go abroad for gambling activities, disrupting the order of China’s outbound tourism market and endangering the personal and property safety of Chinese citizens,” a ministry notice said.

The ministry said it would include casinos that allow proxy betting on its list.

Proxy betting is the process of a gambler making bets on behalf of a person who is directing their play remotely via telephone or another device.

VIP junket groups, tasked with coordinating travel from China to casino destinations, are additionally being closely monitored by the government.

The blacklist news is positive for Macau, gaming analysts said.

JP Morgan analysts DS Kim, Derek Choi and Jeremy An said it is difficult to know how the government will clamp down and what it means by ‘blacklisting’.

“We suspect capital flows through underground banks and agents, as well as junkets’ promotion of these overseas markets, will be heavily scrutinised.”

Numerous foreign integrated resort markets have welcomed Chinese nationals to their casinos, including from the Philippines, Australia, Singapore and Vietnam.

Casino companies are banned from advertising their gaming services inside mainland China.

While several countries could be included on the blacklist, the Philippines is a likely front runner.

The southeast Asian nation is home to some 60 licensed internet casino firms, known as Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators.

These POGO’s target Chinese gamblers and their operational hubs are staffed with Chinese people.

China’s President Xi Jinping asked Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to force POGO businesses to stop allowing players from China.

These requests were refused in 2019, with the Filipino president saying the associated tax revenue from online gaming is too substantial.

Crown’s relationship with junket operators under the microscope

A New South Wales government inquiry into the conduct of Crown Resorts’ relationship with junket operators continued on Monday, with reports Crown is still working with a “junket” partner, despite being warned in several due diligence reports that its owner has links to organised crime.

The Brisbane Times reported in early August that the inquiry heard Crown did not consider ending the partnership with Suncity, even after it discovered $5.6 million in cash stored in the junket operator’s private gaming parlour at Crown Melbourne, in an incident the casino’s legal officer said sent “money-laundering alarms ringing”.

The NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority’s inquiry is reviewing Crown’s probity to hold a licence for its new $2.4 billion casino nearing completion at Sydney’s Barangaroo in light of revelations that it went into business with “junkets” – which bring wealthy Chinese gamblers to its Australian casinos – linked to powerful crime syndicates.

Counsel assisting Naomi Sharp grilled Crown’s chief legal officer Joshua Preston on one of Crown’s largest junket operators, Alvin Chau and his Macau-based Suncity outfit.

The inquiry heard Crown receive a due diligence report on Mr Chau in April 2016 that warned the US government considered him to be involved in organised crime, while a separate May 2016 dossier warned that he appeared to be a former member of the “14K Triad” in Macau under the leadership of notorious gangster Wan Kuok-koi, also known as “Broken Tooth Koi.”

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