When passing new laws on online gambling, many state governments create regulations and definitions that seem purposely vague – but what went into effect on August 1 in China may take the cake in the category.
According to the new law on Internet gambling in China, “any morally questionable online games are illegal.” Any online games designed with minors in mind “must not contain any content which could lead them to imitate behavior which would be against social moral codes and the law.”
What is not vague in the new Chinese law on Internet gambling is the reality that to enter any online casino, Chinese poker room, or even MMPORG site, players must register their names and are subject to identity check to verify legal age. In theory, this prevents youths enjoying restricted websites, because official ID cards are not issued by the Chinese government until the citizen is 16 years old.
Also of note are the time limits placed on gaming and the Chinese government’s ban of most electronic payment methods for online use in late July, also part of the attempt to generally quell the Internet gambling industry in China.
Internet casinos and gaming sites can theoretically get a license to operate within China for a cost of about $1.5 million apiece.
Official entity the China Internet Network Information Center estimates that over 420 million Chinese citizens regularly go online, with the value of the market for Internet betting in China worth anywhere from $800 million to $3.8 billion annually.