Gambling websites are banned in China for “serious crimes” including money laundering, cybercrimes and “terrorist activities,” a government agency said Thursday.
The state-run Xinhua News Agency cited a government statement as saying that online gambling sites have been classified as “illegal and dangerous” and that any gambling sites operating in China would be closed down.
The agency said the move was necessary to combat online gambling with “serious criminal activities” that include money laundering and “terrorist activities.”
It said the crackdown was aimed at combating “terrorist and cybercrime activities.”
Gambling sites have long been a source of controversy in China, where many fear they are a form of “ponzi” or “gambling” scheme that is heavily subsidized by state and private investors.
In 2014, the government ordered internet gambling sites to stop operating by January 1, 2019.
However, they continued to operate.
China’s state-owned Xinhua news agency said that the announcement “is a serious blow to online gambling businesses in China.”
Xinhua said the ban on gambling sites would not apply to those who have “valid financial certificates.”
It also did not mention whether any other types of gambling websites would be affected.
In March, the state-backed China News Network said it had blocked gambling websites in several cities.
The report cited the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology as saying the sites would be taken down “in accordance with relevant laws.”
China has a booming internet industry that includes many gambling websites, as well as social media websites, and gambling portals.
It has seen an influx of new gamblers from abroad and its population has grown from more than 7.4 million in 2015 to more than 10.2 million in 2020.
The number of registered gamblers in China increased from 4.3 million in 2010 to 4.8 million in 2021.