China Underground > Entertainment > Navigating China’s Complex Regulatory Landscape: A Comprehensive Guide to Online Gambling Laws

Navigating China’s Complex Regulatory Landscape: A Comprehensive Guide to Online Gambling Laws

Considering the nature of gambling, it should not be a surprise it is one of the most regulated industries in the world. Regardless of the country you go to, there will always be gambling laws in place, but some are much more strict than others.

Normally, the gambling industry is more developed in Western countries, which also means that the local laws are more gambling-friendly. With that said, if we look at some Asian giants, such as China, we can see that this is not the case.


China is one of the world’s leading countries in many aspects, but this is not the case when talking about gambling. The country has very complex laws in place, so let’s learn more about them and see what’s the future going to be like.

The laws

Considering China’s government and the fact that it likes to control a lot of things, it should be no surprise that gambling is prohibited. These are some of the best Chinese bookmakers currently operating online, but most people who want to access them need a VPN or a special tool that will hide the fact that they are trying to access them from inside China. Besides the fact that the authorities will block this website, they could also punish those trying to use it.

If you take a look at the local laws, you will see that gambling is not allowed, and people who are involved in such activities face administrative penalties and can even be criminally prosecuted, depending on the offense.

Even though the strict gambling laws only affected regular gambling options, such as land-based casinos and so on, the most recent changes to the industry now also affect iGaming. There are way more online bookmakers and casinos than before, so it’s no surprise that the Chinese authorities are doing everything they can to prevent those companies from spreading their services in the country. 

Aside from regulating the classic gambling options, China is also strict when it comes to any type of gaming that could lead to gambling. Lotteries are an exception because the government licenses them. However, they have strict regulations regarding selling tickets. 

The exceptions

Even though gambling is not allowed throughout China, there are a few places where people can participate in such activities. Of course, the first name that comes to mind is Macau, which is often referred to as Las Vegas of the East. If you check the history books, you will see that gambling has been legal here since the 1850s, making it one of the first places to allow such activities.

Nowadays, you can find tons of casinos. In fact, there are more than 38 companies in this place, and the revenue they generate is more than the casinos located in Las Vegas. This just proves that China has huge potential when it comes to providing gambling services.

The second place that’s relatively different than the rest of the country is Hong Kong. The latter is a place where some of the laws from mainland China apply, but there are certain forms of legal gambling activities. Considering the history of the island, some of the laws here are from the British, which explains why gambling has been legal since 1977.

The situation with offshore gambling

As mentioned, one of the easiest ways for local gamblers to wager on different sports or play games is to use an offshore gambling website. Even though the country does not allow such websites, places that focus on nearby countries, such as Singapore, Vietnam, Korea, and more, can be used in China as long as locals can access these places.


As you can imagine, VPNs are extremely popular in the country because people use them to access different platforms. Some sources even say that people in the country spend more than 145B annually on online gambling, more than what China gets from the regulated lotteries. 

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Last Updated on 2023/09/19

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