An illegal internet gambling operation was recently busted in the Guangxi region of China, following an intensive 32-month investigation. Chinese gambling laws do not allow online gambling sites to be operated from within the country’s borders, and this is but one of many similar busts that have taken place in recent years.
This most recent bust however has set records for being the largest. Over 100 individuals have been arrested, and it is estimated that stakes in the ring amounted to several hundred billion yuan (tens of billions of euros). The syndicate was extremely complex, and was a nation-wide operation – this explains why it took more than two years to finally bring it down.
The investigation began in October 2007, when Laibing city police in Guangxi stopped a small gambling operation running “liuhecai” or “mark-six lottery”. They soon realized that it was but one small part of a much larger organization, and that it had connections with internet gambling in China.
After many more busts, leads, and arrests, police finally took the leader of the gambling syndicate into custody, detaining him from his club in Shenzhen, Guangdong province. Soon after, police detained a few dozen more members of the group, along with cell phones, computers, weapons, bank cards, and cash. 42.5 million yuan ($6.2 million) in assets were frozen.
The popularity of gambling in China is responsible for the existence of such an expansive underground gambling industry. Police work hard to keep illegal gambling operations under control, but when one goes down, another pops up someplace else.
Players looking for online gambling sites in China would do well to avoid locally-hosted internet casinos because of the possibility that the site will go down, and players may see their money disappear. Instead, there are hundreds of foreign-hosted gambling sites that accept players from China, and many even offer Chinese language services. These sites offer more security and stability than local unlicensed gambling operations.