BUSINESS

Online gambling alive and well in China

TAGs: China crackdown, online payment providers, special report

fascismAs CalvinAyre.com continues to cover gobal developments in the industry, the crackdown on online gambling in China is generating particular interest. However, despite attempts by the authorities to stamp out eGaming, there are always ways and means of opening accounts and depositing money, as described in the following article, which is translated from the original article on Why.com. Despite claims to the contrary by Chinese officials in this article and others, licensed international gaming companies are safe for Chinese betters to play with. The only thing unsafe is they way they are treated by the Chinese government.

Making money via online payment

Providing a secret account
“The deposit method has changed due to the government crackdown,” said a former gambler named Du. To show reporters what he meant Du proceeded to sign up with online gambling site 188BET, which claims that customers can place deposits into their betting accounts by using a debit card issued by more than 20 different banks. Once Du had signed up we learned that 188BET is registered in the Isle of Man and when he tried to make a deposit he was not actually directed to the online bank but received an email containing bank information sent from the company.

The email from 188BET arrived a few minutes after the deposit request and provided the following information. Account name: FOOSIANGWEE; account number: 6228480602850132112; bank name: Agricultural Bank (Shenzhen branch).

188BET’s customer service department said that Du could use his debit card to transfer money into the account provided and that they would load up the betting account once the transaction had been made. They would update him if the bank information ever changed.

Du explained that 188BET is a major offshore online gambling company whose customers used to be able to deposit funds straight into their betting accounts via their debit cards, but that now because of the government crackdown they can only transfer their money into the account provided by the company and wait for their betting account to be credited.

According to a bank official, the crackdown is being conducted by the Ministry of Public Security with the co-operation of the People’s Bank and CBRC towards the online gambling sites. Most of the commercial banks have a list of the online offshore gambling sites and the names on the blacklist are absolutely excluded from conducting business with the bank.

However, due to the variety in transactions that online gambling companies can make, like the secret account, it’s very hard for banks to keep track since you just cannot censor the background of all the accounts that are opened.

Industry during the crackdown
“Big events like the FIFA World Cup are times when gambling runs wild,” said Du. Although there has been a major online gambling crackdown in the last year and a raft of suspects have been arrested, offshore gambling have not stopped offering their services to Chinese gamblers, especially when the World Cup came around.

“The reason they still run their businesses is because they can earn a lot of money from it,” explained Du, adding that even though China has the soccer lottery it will never hit the same heights as the gambling companies since it has more markets so there is such a huge number of bettors involved, even if they are losing money.

Selling “chips” to avoid being tracked
There is another way of depositing money with gambling operator Bet365, whereby customers are able to reload their accounts via a payment company named Click2pay, but Click2Pay doesn’t accept RMB but an e-currency named Ukash, which operate like betting chips.

The bettors use RMB to buy Ukash and then reload their Bet365 account via Click2Pay. You can buy Ukash from the online shopping platforms like Taobao and Paipai. With 8.3 RMB can buy 1 Euro’s worth of Ukash and there are also options to buy denominations of 5 Euro, 10 Euro, 50 Euro and 100 Euro.

The third payment processor
“If you use a debit card to credit your betting account directly it’s easy to be exposed,” says a bank official. Although some offshore gambling sites hold their business licenses where they are registered, there are instances where a player cannot retrieve their money after making a deposit; players have no way of suing them because it’s illegal in China.

There was a big case a few months ago involving offshore online gambling company Fun88. In this case, a third online payment party called “kuanQian” transferred more than 3 billion RMB from China to Fun88, making a profit of 170 million RMB. The police arrested the company’s manager Mei and other employees.

“It’s really not a big deal since there are several payment companies that are able to help the gambling sites transfer their money,” said a senior manger of one payment company. The point is that it’s hugely profitable to do so.

Cases closed by the Ministry of Public Security

The Nanjing M88 case
April 22, 2010

The case of online gambling company M88 was closed by the Jiangsu police, after the arrests of Yao and 31 other suspects. The authorities have frozen more than 10 million RMB.

The Zhuhai International Club case
April 24, 2010

The International Club case in which senior manager Ma and five other managers were arrested, was closed by the Zhuhai police,. According to the preliminary investigation, Ma created the International Club gambling site in 2006 and recruited the stakeholders, super agent, agent and so forth to expand his business.

The Dongguan 5.16 case
March, 2010

The Guangdong police found that a group of people used the 147 gambling company to provide services for 29 other offshore gambling websites and to recruit members for them.

16th May, 2010
The Dongguan police exercised a major crackdown and arrested related suspects.

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