China Continues its War on Online Casino Sites
The Chinese government continued its crackdown on online casino sites this month with further arrests and fines of illegal operators. According to Peking University, over 5 billion U.S. dollars was generated from gambling, mostly at online casino sites, in China in 2005. While the statistics have proved a cause for concern among legislators and traditional opponents of the industry, many online casino sites continue to target the local market.
Gambling revenues are equivalent to China’s total revenue from tourism in 2004 and have increased fifteen times since 2003’s revenues. Online casino operators first began to target Chinese casino players in 2000 where the network structure in many cities proved compatible for companies in marketing their services online. In the following three years the number of online casino sites available to Chinese gambling fans increased substantially. Today several offshore-based online casino operators cater for the Chinese market, with some of the industry’s largest players working on establishing a market presence.
While land-based firms such as Wynns, MG Mirage and Harrah’s are planning to develop lucrative live casino facilities in Macau – the only Chinese province where gambling is permitted – other major online casino sites are preparing to set up development branches in China itself. Among them are software providers and marketing firms directly responsible for providing the latest technology to online casino sites.