China Changes Criminal Law Affecting Casino Junkets
The National People’s Congress of China has changed the Criminal Law, putting a huge strain on casino operators where junkets are involved.
Gambling in China is a big no-no. It is illegal for citizens of China to take part in online gambling, gambling overseas, etc. For many years, junket operators in other regions, including Macau, have pulled in revenues due to bringing players in from mainland China, due to their lack of gambling options. High rollers often leave the country to spend their money in Macau or even traveling to the United States. Just recently, the National People’s Congress announced a change involving the Criminal Law of the country. This change will have a major affect on casino operations as junket operators can no longer organize trips or solicit players to come to their venues from China.
Starting on March 1, 2021, a new amendment will come into play within the Criminal Law. At this time, it will be a crime for cross-border casinos to organize trips or solicit citizens from China to come to their venues. Those who are found to be in serious breach of the new law will face increased penalties.
The amendment was first drafted back in October and approved just a few days ago. It targets those who organize ways for mainland citizens of China to travel outside of the country to gamble. The penalty for those who break the new rule is up to five years of imprisonment, criminal detention, or control, plus a fine.
In more serious cases where the law is breached, an individual will be sentenced up to 10 years, plus the fine. Specific details are provided as to how violators will be prosecuted. However, there is no real explanation as to how the new law will be implemented. It is also unclear as to if Macau will be excluded or included into the change.
The revised law says gambling outside the borders and uses brackets to display the text. It does not just say overseas or foreign gambling. This makes analysts believe that the legislation will cover Macau as well, which is where many junkets operate.
How Will Junkets Respond?
It is believed that the new law will create fear for junkets and the agents. Perhaps they will think they will be held liable for organizing a gambling trip now that the new law is in place. Will junket operators stop such trip creations for players? For the most part, it seems like they will as China is cracking down on gambling behavior and they will not tolerate any violation of the rules.
However, some junket operators might take the risk and continue to offer trips. How will China enforce something that is taking place outside their borders? Will they try to extradite offenders? It seems that the actual penalization of those who are not located in China might be a bit difficult. However, residents could be charged with taking part. This might be where the change lies. Citizens of China may be less likely to take part due to the possibility of going to prison or facing other consequences.
The amendment to the Criminal Law come at a time when the Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced a blacklist was created involving tourist destinations located overseas. These destinations are said to be disrupting the outbound tourism of the country as casinos were being opened to target residents of China. Officials want to stop citizens from taking part in gambling as much they possibly can.
With the new blacklist, people from China may be restricted when it comes to travel. The cities and spots located overseas locations have not been made public yet by the Ministry, so it is unclear as to which destinations are on the list.