China new penalties for Overseas Gambling effect on March 1

A prison term of up to 10 years can apply to cases involving anyone who organises mainland Chinese citizens to gamble overseas.

The National People’s Congress of China has via its Standing Committee, given final approval to an amendment to the criminal law, so that anyone who “organises” mainland Chinese for the purpose of will be deemed to have committed a criminal act. The change was signed off on Saturday, and takes effect on March 1, 2021.

The change also covers anyone organising trips for gambling in , says a locally based gaming scholar and a legal source based in the neighbouring province of Guangdong. The latter market has for many years supplied numbers of high roller gamblers to .

The approved legal amendment says that a prison term of up to 10 years can apply to cases involving any person who “organises” mainland Chinese citizens to gamble “outside the country (borders)”; and where there was a “serious” amount of money involved, or for cases considered to have “grave consequences”.

Wang Changbin, a gaming scholar at Macao Polytechnic Institute: “By the term ‘outside the borders’, that could mean activities that are conducted in the special administrative regions – i.e., Hong Kong, Macau – as well as Taiwan.”

Mr Wang added: “This legal change could have implications for sector in Macau. I think they could be the ones taking the biggest hit.”

He added that mainland-China references to things occurring outside the “borders” were usually interpreted as meaning outside , but still encompassed all Chinese “jurisdictions”, i.e., including the special administrative regions.