Played In China – A look at China’s stringent gambling laws


For around 4.2 billion people worldwide, gambling is considered to be a bit of fun and a part of everyday life.  Although this is true for a great many countries across the globe, some countries still have incredibly strict rules when it comes to betting and gambling and, one such country is China. 

The numbers game

With a population of 1.402 billion people, China spans five time zones and is bordered with 14 other countries.  China is known for having stringent laws for its citizens including limits on the number of children that residents can have.  It also has some of the strictest laws on betting in the world. 

Since 1949 when the Communist Party came into power, gambling in China has been illegal – both in land-based venues and online.  In fact, the only type of gambling allowed in China is playing the lottery as long as it’s one of two Government run games – The Welfare Lottery which supports the elderly, vulnerable and disabled, and the China Sports Lottery with which residents can bet on soccer and basketball results.  Chinese residents who are caught gambling face hefty fines and up to seven years in prison, and the Chinese government even uses drones to try to spot illegal gatherings of gamblers.

Beating the system

While gambling is prohibited in Hong Kong which is within the People’s Republic of China, many residents take advantage of a workaround whereby they travel to Macau, an autonomous Portuguese territory on China’s south coast which is just an hour away from Hong Kong by road and ferry.  Not only is gambling legal in Macau but, it also boasts the ‘Cotai Strip’ featuring shopping malls and casinos, earning the region the nickname of ‘Las Vegas of Asia’.   

Going online

The advent of the internet has undoubtedly made things a little more difficult for the Chinese government when it comes to gambling. Online casino platforms such as the Guangdong Club have found ways around the Chinese laws by registering their sites in Cambodia and the Philippines and, while China’s government continues to put pressure on these countries to change their jurisdictions, a considerable number of sites are still operating.  The Guangdong Club in particular is positively thriving with a reported 75,000 yuan (around $10,500) from each 30 second game of Baccarat.  With increasingly sophisticated technology and more affordable travel, Chinese authorities are finding themselves on a losing streak when it comes to upholding their laws on gambling and betting in 2022. 


It’s thought that the reasons for gambling being prohibited in China are largely moral and are based on the religious idea that gambling is a form of greed and thereby a sin.  This can be incredibly frustrating for residents of China who wish to be able to gamble recreationally rather than through the intention of getting rich.  

-In Collaboration with Chilli Fruit Web Consulting Sp. z o.o.

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