As you will probably have gathered, China is not a country where online gambling is legal. Despite that, there are exceptions when it comes to land-based betting, and this all makes China worthy of a closer look. You’ll be hard-pressed to find an array of top websites to bet at, with most of the best online casinos in China being based offshore. Nonetheless, we attempt to help any Chinese players who want to wager at online casinos find the ideal place to bet. Let us begin, then, by looking at the gambling laws of this vast Far Eastern country.
An Overview of Gambling in China
The Criminal Law of China was amended in 1997 (the Sixth Amendment) to categorically state that gambling in mainland China is illegal. Both Hong Kong and Macau have received exemptions from this law. However, how long Hong Kong’s exceptions are going to law remains to be seen, given recent events in the special administrative region.
To date, both Hong Kong and Macau are permitted to run land-based gambling enterprises, although the venues must only be visited by tourists. No Chinese nationals are permitted to play in brick and mortar casinos or other land-based gambling establishments.
Lotteries are deemed legal and are run by the Ministry of Civil Affairs. Regulated by the General Administration of Sport, lottery games and even sports betting (to a degree) can be played under certain circumstances. Where does this leave online gambling, though?
Online casino gambling (in all its forms) are considered illegal in China. The Chinese Government has issued blacklists and prohibits Chinese players from accessing offshore casinos and betting sites. Chinese players with very good VPNs (virtual private software) have managed to find a way around this at times, but there are punishments in place for any Chinese nationals caught gambling at foreign sites, and they can be severe, including both fines and imprisonment.
Chinese nationals who wish to gamble tend to do so in land-based casinos in other Asian countries. The Philippines, Vietnam, Australia, South Korea and Singapore are all known to run land-based casino resorts, and many Chinese nationals take advantage of these when on holiday. There are no Chinese laws which state that this is illegal when overseas.
China’s Most Played Casino Games
There are not many games that you can get away with playing in China. Because of this, it is better than we take a look at the typical online casino games that you can find anywhere else, and discuss their legality in the Asian country.
Online Casino Games: All online casino games are illegal in China. The country has no licensed online casinos and does not allow its nationals or residents to bet on online casino games. As a result, casino games are not that popular with Chinese nationals. However, some of the world’s highest rollers are Chinese, and illegal baccarat and roulette games are popular. Macau even has its own baccarat games, such as Baccarat Squeeze which have begun to spread to the Western world.
Poker Games: Poker is more popular than online slot games, and there are quite a few poker pros in China. However, this game is also deemed illegal. While there are no official poker sites for you to play at, Chinese players do tend to sign up at offshore sites where they can in order to play online.
Lottery Games: China has authorised lottery games, but these must be run by either the Welfare Lottery or the Sports Lottery. These are the only two licensed providers of lottery games. No online lottery yet exists, but they are believed to be in the pipeline. China actively bans offshore lottery websites, but that hasn’t stopped Chinese players from trying their hand at such sites.
Bingo Games: Bingo games are illegal. They are not considered the same as lottery games in China like other countries deem them to be. The general rules which forbid gambling in China also apply to bingo games.
Sports Betting: Sports betting is regulated by China. However, Chinese players are only entitled to play at those which are licensed and run by the Sports Lottery. Naturally, betting options are limited, so many Chinese sports betting fines turn to offshore sites to wager on a larger array of markets. Once again, China tries to block access to these sites.
Taxes on Big Wins at Chinese Casinos
The tax laws for online gambling in China are quite straightforward to understand. As no operators are licensed out of China (save for state-run sites), there are no gambling taxes to be paid. Any operators catering to Chinese nationals do so illegally, and thus do not pay tax to the country.
Chinese citizens are not subject to gambling taxes for the same reason. As there are no laws in place which legalise gambling, there cannot be any laws which tax Chinese citizens on any winnings they land.
The Best Chinese Online Casinos to Join Today
The best Chinese online casinos are those which are not based in China at all. This much goes without saying. While there are many top casinos and betting sites out there which cater to Chinese players, there are also a few which should be avoided. Here are a few of the things to look for in Chinese online casinos:
Major Brands: You will note that many of the major brands which aim their services at Chinese players tend to be based offshore. These can often be found sponsoring Premier League football teams. These are the safest sites to play at, as they are internationally renowned, and thus often under the microscope. We’d recommend heading to one of these multi-purpose gambling sites, as not only are they trustworthy – they also offer up sports betting and poker alongside casino games.
VPN Accepted: China actively enforces its ISPs (internet service providers) to blacklist all foreign casinos and betting sites. Because of this, any site that you do choose to play at will need to accept players using VPNs. Not all casinos do this, but those that do will be immediately appealing to Chinese players.
Chinese Language and Currency: For Chinese players who speak English, there is a wide variety of top casinos for them to play at. However, not everybody can speak English. For those who can’t, a casino needs to offer gameplay and support in Chinese. Fortunately, many of the larger, more internationally renowned domains provide this service. Moreover, a good number of international casinos also accept the Chinese yuan renminbi currency, to boot.
Safe Gameplay: Even though all online casinos in China are illegal, you still need to be careful and safe. Because of this, the best online casinos in China will be those which hold a valid gambling license out of a reputable jurisdiction. They will also offer player protections, promote responsible gaming, and provide offers and deals (including fair terms and conditions) to Chinese players.
Gambling online in China is not easy, and is in some cases risky. Getting caught can see you in a world of trouble. It is, therefore, essential that you pick the right site to play at. Any of the sites recommended here are ideal for Chinese players and provided you use an excellent VPN; you should be safe playing at them.