Saturday, May 25, 2024

China tells its citizens to refrain from gambling in foreign countries

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Chinese nationals in Singapore are being “solemnly reminded” by the Chinese Embassy in Singapore to “stay away” from overseas gambling, which is a violation of Chinese laws. 

In a notice published on WeChat yesterday morning, the embassy wrote that “even if overseas casinos are legally opened, cross-border gambling by Chinese citizens is still considered a suspected violation of the laws of our country.” It mentioned that the embassy would be unable to provide consular protection to those who are involved in such illegal activities.

The embassy also highlighted the other potential risks of cross-border gambling, including fraud, money laundering, kidnapping, trafficking, detention and smuggling. 

The notice comes shortly after China and Singapore signed a mutual 30 day visa-free entry agreement that came into effect on 9 February this year. 

[See more: Gaming insiders say the sun is setting on Macao’s junket operators]

In recent years, China has been ramping up warnings to citizens gambling in Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines, South Korea and Sri Lanka. A blacklist of foreign destinations that are establishing casinos aimed at Chinese punters has been drawn up by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, according to specialist publication Inside Asia Gaming.

In response to a media question about the statement, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian reiterated that “China allows no Chinese capital to be invested in overseas casinos, allows no Chinese nationals to engage in operating overseas casinos, and allows no overseas casinos to entice Chinese nationals into gambling.” 

Despite the warning, Genting Singapore, which along with Las Vegas Sands operates one of Singapore’s two integrated resorts, did not see its share prices go down. 

The warning issued will have no impact on Chinese citizens gaming in Macao, which is a Chinese territory and exempt from such restrictions. However, the central and local governments have been cracking down on illicit cross-border gaming activities in Macao in recent years, with the arrest of Suncity boss Alvin Chau being a notable example.

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