Chinese prosecutors have announced that they are cracking down further on all online gambling platform that are offering products and services to people in the country.
The announcement follows the recent arrest of Suncity casino boss Alvin Chau Cheok-wa for allegedly running an illegal gambling platform and encouraging Chinese nationals to gamble at an online casino.
Prosecutors have stated that there has been a huge influx of illegal operators offering their products in China using online platforms to circumvent the country’s strict laws that forbid most forms of gambling.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Miao Shengming, head of the first prosecutor’s office at the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, said:
“Criminals used the internet technology, such as software and platforms, to connect gamblers, casinos and their proxies.”
Miao went on to add that 255,850 people involved in 98,069 cases had been arrested and charge with “opening casinos” from 2018 to September of this year. Of that total, 63,238 were prosecuted between January and September this year across 25,140 cases.
The press conference came shortly after the arrest of the head of the Suncity Group along with 10 other people for running and promoting online gambling. Chau is accused of being the leader of a syndicate that launched online gambling platforms in other jurisdictions before enabling Chinese nationals to join. The syndicate is also accused of lending money to gamblers to encourage them to join the platforms and handled most transactions through an illegal underground bank.
As a result of his arrest, Suncity Group’s stock plunged by 48% to an all-time low following its suspension from trade a day earlier. The group is now valued at HK$880 million (US$113/€99.5 million). However, despite its huge drop in value, the group has said that day-to-day operations will remain unaffected.