The Chinese Government has announced plans to ban their citizens from enjoying overseas trips to casinos.
On Wednesday, it was announced by China that they have established “a blacklist” of countries. This could prevent Chinese citizens from travelling to partake in gambling activities in any country on China’s blacklist.
However, China has yet to release the names of the countries that they have blacklisted.
Instead, China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism states that it covers overseas tourist destinations that target mainland Chinese tourists.
investment bank JP Morgan suggests Australia is likely to be affected.
Understandably, countries nearer to China, such as Philippines, Cambodia and Vietnam are expected to bare the biggest burden of China’s latest action.
“At this stage” said J P Morgan, “it’s difficult to know exactly how the government will clamp-down and what it means by ‘black-listing’”.
The Chinese government states that it is taking this action as the blacklisted areas are “endangering the personal and property safety of Chinese citizens”.
The more cynical, might suggest that China merely wishes to keep their citizens from spending their cash abroad. Thereby, helping to retain cash for use in the Chinese economy.
It is illegal to gamble in China. Instead, the citizens of China – who wish to gamble – must do so in secrecy. The advent of internet gambling provides a way around the laws. However, lawbreaking citizens are detectable via their internet provider.
Therefore, those wishing to experience the pleasure of gambling, must do so, while on holiday. First, they must obtain a visa for their trips abroad. This is not necessarily an easy thing to do.
Second, they must select a destination that is a popular tourist attraction. Hence, Australian cities, that also happen to have several casinos, are particularly popular among the Chinese tourists.
Earlier this month, the Star Casino in Sydney incurred a fine for allowing a 12-year-old girl inside their casino. At the time, she was with her family, who were visiting from China on tourist visas.
Is Gambling A Vice?
The Chinese Communist Party, who took power in 1949, listed gambling as one of three vices. The other two vices – that their citizens require protection from – are drugs and prostitution.
However, while China will now blacklist countries who “encourage bad behavior” amongst Chinese citizens, the Government does allow the Chinese to play state-run lotteries.
Perhaps, even more contentious, is that Macau is deemed the “gambling capital” of the world.
Macau was officially handed over to China on December 20th 1999. Although the argument is more complex, in simple terms, it means that China is not entirely anti-gambling.
There could be a good reason for this. The economy of Macau depends on gambling tourism. Without question, China’s prevention of overseas trips to other countries will protect and increase Macau’s gaming revenue streams.
Obviously, we live in a new Covid-19 inhabited world. Prior to travel restrictions, around 1.43 million Chinese visited Australia each year. In total, they spent $12 billion. Although, it is unclear exactly how much of this is spent in gaming establishments.
However, the one definite, is that some casino operators will suffer from China’s blacklisting of countries. Assuming we ever find out, which countries China has placed on its “blacklist” and what this blacklist prevents!