Chinese Gambling laws have banned it since 1949 but 20% of Chinese people live outside of China. Also many Chinese are able to access offshore gambling websites.
Chinese Gambling Laws
The only legal form of gambling in China is the state lottery controlled by the Peoples Republic of China. There are two lotteries, the Welfare Lottery and the Sports Lottery.
Anyone who has been to a casino will know that the Chinese enjoy gambling. Perhaps that is because, apart from the Lottery, all other types of gambling are banned within China. A blanket gambling ban was introduced back in 1949 but more than 20% of Chinese people live outside China.
The Chinese lottery is so popular that it raises almost 50 billion dollars a year. 75% of that is used to fund welfare projects and build community sports centres.
The only place where gambling is legal in China is Macau, a former Chinese Colony which is now an independent state. Technically it no longer falls under Chinese rule. Macau is a hugely popular gambling destination visited by many Chinese who want to gamble in the many casinos there. Read more about Macau gambling history.
Such is the success of Macau and the impact on Chinese citizens the Government now require visas for cross border visits.
Although fines and prison sentences are common for those flouting gambling law, it does not seem to prevent gambling in China. It would be difficult to prevent gambling in a country like China, the government seems more intent on making sure no operators are profiting from it.
In 2005, the gambling laws clamped down on many illegal underground casinos. At the same time the Chinese government made a statement to say people are welcome to play friendly games in their homes.
As with all countries where gambling is banned, the government loses the opportunity of regulating it. Also, the government loses the ability to generate tax revenue from it. Historically, that is the biggest reason for gambling regulation across the world.
In the future perhaps online gambling might cause gambling laws to be reviewed. As the affluence of Chinese people increases, so does their ability to gamble online. That is very difficult to prevent although online gambling is illegal in China. There are thousands of gambling websites around the world which accept players from China. In fact many of these websites have a Chinese language version. So much for the success of implementing Chinese gambling laws.
We do not have recent figures but during 2010 some 600,000 people were arrested for gambling. This was something of a dilemma because anyone who admits publicly that they need help faces the prospect of being confined to a mental institution. It is not surprising that most gambling addicts in China lead a desperate life. Officially there is no counselling for gambling addicts because gambling does not exist.
Gambling Culture in China
Chinese culture has evolved with strong beliefs in luck. No doubt that culture manifests itself when there is an opportunity for gambling in China. Read about the new Chinese themed mega casino in Las Vegas called the Lucky Dragon.
Read more about gambling laws in other Asian Countries: