Will China’s igaming crackdown affect blockchain gaming?

Updated May 5, 2020 | Published Apr 16, 2020
[2 mins read]
With the Chinese government tightening the screws on traditional igaming, players may seek crypto alternatives, but it remains to be seen whether the sector will be affected in a similar way.
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The Chinese Ministry of Public Security’s latest move targets igaming and illegal gambling specifically, Deputy Minister Wang Xiaohong explained in a meeting. China doesn’t allow any form of casino gambling in the mainland which has led to overseas online casinos and gaming operators tailoring their offers specifically to Chinese players, Wang noted during the meeting.

As a result, the Ministry will now seek to suspend accounts holding gambling funds and punish payment processors within its jurisdiction. The question is whether China will seek to uproot crypto gambling as well. The most likely answer is yes, as the country already has a track record of clamping down on $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin gambling on the 2018 World Cup.

Crypto operators, however, tend to be compliant, offering their products in a way that is – if not entirely acceptable to Chinese officials – at least in line with existing legislation. The majority of crypto operators are based offshore, meaning Chinese nationals can choose whether to participate or avoid them.

However, China doesn’t make the distinction between offshore and domestic as long as the offer is available to its citizens. As a result, the country’s bent on blocking access to any means of online gambling will likely see crypto casinos affected in a similar way to the traditional means.

China went even further when in 2019 it began pressuring Cambodia and the Philippines to suspend their offshore gaming industries, citing exploitation of Chinese nationals there, although, most suspected that China was reluctant to see potential Macau revenues leak to Southeast Asia (SEA), especially online.

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CGN senior journalist 

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