Like many Far Eastern countries, China has pretty strict gambling laws, but that hasn’t stopped many companies opening up their own enterprises and casinos for Chinese players to wager in. Truth be told, China doesn’t have a large market for online casinos, although other forms of gambling in the country remain popular, particularly in the underground gambling world. Other sections of China, such as Macau and Hong Kong are perfectly legal to gamble in, albeit under certain conditions.
Gambling laws in China
Ever since the country became the People’s Republic of China in 1949, gambling has been outlawed. There have been notable exceptions, though. The Welfare Lottery and the Sports Lottery are exempt from the ban. Recently, horse races were taken over by the state, and there is some talk of China allowing betting on horse races, although this is still speculative at this moment in time. The punishment for gambling, promoting or running illegal gambling operations can range from fines to imprisonment, or even military service.
Over in Macau and Hong Kong, though, gambling is effectively legal under certain parameters. They are considered Special Administrative Regions, and they have their own laws where gambling is concerned. Casino gambling is normally online permitted in Macau, whilst players must travel to Hong Kong if they wish to wager on horse racing.
As for online casino gaming, that is generally forbidden. China does not issue gambling licenses to operators, and players are forbidden from playing at offshore casinos. The Chinese government have tried to require ISPs (internet service providers) to put a block on offshore casinos, but that hasn’t been very effective.
There are countless online casinos which offer their services to players based in China. These are all located outside of the country, though and are therefore considered to be offshore casinos. These casinos not only cater to Chinese players in Traditional Chinese and Mandarin, with the Renminbi currency, but some even cater only to Chinese players.
As we’ve touched on, the Chinese government has not had much luck in isolated these casinos, and new ones spring up each day. Many of these offshore casinos are not to be trusted, though. Despite that, most of the world’s leading online casinos are more than open about offering a trusted and reliable service to Chinese players.
In Macau, there are rules in place for the regulation of online casino gaming. Although once again the laws regarding online casino gambling are muddled in China, if there is anywhere in the country where you are likely to be legally allowed to play online casino games, it would be the former Portuguese colony.
About gambling in China
Should you worry about gambling online in China, or gambling in general? Yes and no. If you are on holiday, then heading to Macau and gambling online there is hardly going to be a problem. We wouldn’t imagine that too many problems would be encountered gambling in Hong Kong, or even Shanghai either if you do it online and with a VPN (virtual private network) or proxy.
As for Chinese players gambling in their own country, that is trickier. Whilst China is becoming increasingly rich and more and more players have cash to splash on luxuries such as gambling, it is still illegal. Chinese nationals could be punished with anything from a fine to prison and that is not a risk we would take, so we cannot advocate it either. The chances of the Chinese authorities catching players using VPNs and proxies to play at offshore casinos are, it must be said, rather minimal.
There are many online casinos listed on this website which accept players from China. We don’t wish to repeat ourselves on this page. Instead on this online casino China page we are just going to pick a very select few we know can handle any legal implications should the Chinese authorities start banning access to overseas casinos.
Online casino in China
Chinese online casinos are illegal if they are hosted in China. Underground online casinos pop up from time to time in China but players are advised to avoid them as these are quickly closed down by the state and players funds held at a closed casino will be confiscated.
Instead Chinese players can play at any of the dozens of offshore online casinos that accept Chinese players. Many are available in both English and Chinese, and some even accept Chinese Renminbi as payment.