China expands gambling blacklist

By Charlotte Lee Updated
China sends strong message against cross-border gambling

China’s newly implemented blacklist for overseas gambling operators and gamblers has been expanded.

GGR Asia reports that China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism said it will also blacklist what it termed a “third batch” of overseas destinations that attract Chinese tourists for gambling activities.

The ministry also said it would work with several other government departments to “suspend tour groups and arrangement of tourist visas” for outbound travel to these destinations.

As with earlier official mentions of China’s overseas-gambling blacklist, the latest announcement didn’t intensify the places concerned.

The ministry mentioned on Friday its previous approach of including several overseas destinations – in “two batches” – in its “blacklist system” for cross-border gambling tourist destinations.

It said such an approach was to “better regulate the travel market” and “safeguard the lives and financial safety of Chinese citizens”.

“The Ministry of Culture and Tourism is to adopt a measure to blacklist a third batch of travel destinations, in response to the recent developments whereby some cities abroad have lured Chinese tourists for gambling activities,” stated the ministry.

It added: “The ministry will – together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the MInistry of Public Security, the National Immigration Administration and the Civil Aviation Administration of China – adopt measures to suspend outbound tour groups and the arrangement of tourist visas for trips to these cities and attractions abroad that are on the ‘blacklist’; and reinforce the restrictive measures on business jets and charter services.”

Under a new amendment in mainland China criminal law, anyone who “organises” trips for mainland Chinese for the purpose of overseas gambling will be deemed to have committed a criminal act.

Central bank meets to discuss anti-gambling measures

China’s central bank met in April to focus on cracking down on gambling transactions.

“Combating cross-border gambling is our political, long-term and systemic effort,” People’s Bank of China deputy governor Fan Yifei said.

“Although certain achievements have been made in the control of gambling-related ‘capital chains’, cross border gambling crimes have not been fundamentally curbed and the situation is still complex and serious.

“We should prepare for this effort as a long-term and long-lasting war.”

Fan said all departments must focus on implementing the strictest management of cross border gambling, including improving coordination between each relevant department and its work on governing capital chains in key areas.

Meanwhile, banks should build up better technical skills in big data, cloud computing, machine learning and other financial technology tools, while exploring digital currencies and blockchain technology to combat gambling related online platforms.

Representatives from China’s Ministry of Public Security, General Administration of Customs, China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, State Administration of Foreign Exchange, Payment & CLearing Association of China, China UnionPay and NetsUnion Clearing Corporation all participated in the meeting.

Fan’s order comes just two weeks after China’s Ministry of Public Security outlined its own plans to crack down on cross border gambling crimes by strengthening international cooperation with nearby countries while expanding a “blacklist” of overseas tourist destinations it says are attracting Chinese tourists for gambling activities.

The existence of such a blacklist was first announced by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in August 2020.

The chief executive of the temporarily shuttered Imperial Palace Saipan has told local officials that he is indifferent to China’s blacklist of overseas tourist destinations.

Donald Browne said China’s decision has “nothing to do” with his company and is instead motivated by China’s wish to bolster its domestic tourism market and stop funds flowing out of the country.

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