China, the most populated nation in the world with a population of more than 1.4 billion. It has a massive middle class who have only recently started earning enough money. China has gone from a developing country to a world superpower in just a few short decades.
The rise of China’s middle class means there’s a huge market for online gambling. Unfortunately, Chinese laws ban gambling in all shapes and forms. There are more than a billion people who have disposable income, but no great outlet to spend it on.
This is where online gambling comes in. Even though laws also forbid people from visiting online casino websites based in other countries, there is no effective way for the government to prosecute people for doing so. Even restricting access to those websites is only partially successful, since modern day people have many tools to bypass such firewalls and restrictions.
Best Online Casinos for Chinese Players
There are a few online casino websites that are aimed at the mainland Chinese crowd. Even if they cannot legally partake in online gambling, it hasn’t stopped many people. Some of the top online casinos you should visit from China are Red Dog Casino, GoldenLion, SlotsEmpire, Liberty slots, etc.
Dafabet Casino is a relatively old online casino. It has been around since 2004. In the last fifteen years, it has picked up a huge number of games from some of the most well-known casino software developers around the world, such as Bet Soft, Pragmatic Play, Push Gaming, BCCMING, Play Tech, Play n Go, Skywind Group, Evoplay, and so on. Almost every online casino software developer in Europe and Asia has a few games of theirs on Dafabet Casino’s website.
Despite having more than one thousand and one hundred games ranging from slots and cards to video poker and other table games made by the aforementioned developers, Dafabet’s focus is on Sports Betting. If you want to check Dafabet Casino out, do so today! There’s a great welcome bonus waiting for you!
Dafabet also cares for its existing customers just as much as it new customers. It has an extremely generous and lucrative VIP program with four levels.
Another online casino suitable for Chinese players is Intertops Red Casino. It is even older than Dafabet, having started in 1996. However, the online virtual casino was released only in 2013. Currently, Intertops has around 200 games, mostly casino and table games. The list of 200 games includes numerous Blackjack, Video Poker, Baccarat, Roulette, etc games.
Unlike some other casinos where the collection of games consists of hundreds of games collected from whatever source the casino owners could find, at Intertops almost all the games are from either NextGen or RealTime Gaming. Both of these developers are famous for building some of the most exciting and immersive online casino games you can find anywhere.
The History of Chinese Gambling
Like many other countries, China has had gambling since ancient times. In Europe, gambling only became popular a few hundred years ago. But in China, gambling has existed for more than two thousand years, since before the Common Era. There have been laws that prohibit gambling dating that far back too. It’s safe to say that there have always been people looking to test their luck against each other by gambling, and people who have been trying to stop the gamblers by various means.
For the most part, breaking gambling laws led to monetary fines. That is still the case today, though in addition to fines some people may face jail time. Others who are caught gambling will be forced to serve in the military for a short while. The punishments are much harsher if you are already a member of the military who has just gotten caught gambling.
Gambling became prominent in China once again when the Europeans arrives to trade with China. The Portuguese established Macau as their major seaport, and as a commercial city, it attracted a lot of the wealthier people of that time, who were interested in gambling. As a gambling centre, Macau also bought large amount of money to the Chinese government at the time, in the form of various taxes.
Similarly, the British encouraged Hong Kong to develop as a major gambling centre. While Hong Kong is currently nowhere near as prevalent in the international gambling scene as Macau, it still has a large number of casinos and a tradition of casino gaming. The Chinese government began to impose its rules upon Hong Kong once Britain left in 1999 and it became a Special Administrative Zone. Despite that, most of Hong Kong’s laws are its own.
Gambling in Modern China
While most forms of gambling are banned in China, there are a few cases where it is allowed: namely, the sports lottery and the welfare lottery. The Chinese government does not actually consider these two to be gambling, which is why they are allowed. However, there is likely a better explanation for why the two lotteries are allowed – the lottery industry is worth more than $40 billion dollars. This is bigger than the US lotteries!
The sports lottery is overseen by the General Administration of Sports, while the other lottery, the Welfare lottery, is run by the Ministry of Civil Affairs. The market for these two is one of the largest gambling markets in the world, despite the restrictions from the government.
The Status of Online Gambling
Online gambling remains illegal in China just like all other forms of gambling. However, the most effective way of enforcing this law is to prevent people from visiting these sites at all. This is done by using firewalls.
But here’s the catch – there are far too many different websites to block them all. Adding thousands of websites to a firewall one by one is an extremely difficult and time-consuming task. So at this time, people in mainland China can still visit websites online and have fun gambling. However, they should take care to not get caught.
Hong Kong and Macau have no such restrictions against online gambling. Any rules and regulations they have only restrict physical casino gambling. And in Macau, these rules and regulations are non-existent. Anyone in Macau can gamble at any time and any place they like. It’s thanks to these freedoms that Macau has claimed the position of the #1 gambling destination in the world despite being under a government that dislikes gambling very much.
Similarly, by allowing Horse Racing and betting, Hong Kong has been able to develop their economic potential. In Hong Kong, horse racing betting is done under the pari-mutuel format by a special organisation named the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
Originally, China was one of the most prominent gambling nations. They invented popular games like Keno and Pai Gow Poker. That all changed with the current government came into power in 1949. Today, despite the government’s best efforts to prevent all online casino gaming, it still occurs fairly regularly inside China.
If you are willing to risk it, you can play at any online casino anywhere in the world from inside China. If you want to play it safe, you could use a proxy to connect to either Hong Kong or Macau first, before connecting to the online casino website you want to visit.
It’s a huge pity that the single large market in the world is locked behind the draconian restrictions of its government. We can always hope that the Chinese government will one day relax its stance on gambling and allows the Chinese people to visit casinos both physical and online. We could even hope that they adopt the European system and start offering out casino licenses themselves, which would give them a lot of control and allow them to regulate the scene effectively.
Even with a hobbled gambling market, China still produces more than 4 billion USD in revenue annually, so just think of how much they could make with a fully open gambling market!