June 23, 2010 (CAP News Wire) – As the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) concludes in the Chinese province of Macau, news that authorities in many Asian nations are expanding online gambling arrests is on the increase.
“Chinese police have pledged a ‘most severe’ crackdown on football gambling during the World Cup after authorities broke up what they called the biggest ever online gambling ring in Hong Kong last week,” reports the Washington Post.
“Of the arrested, more than 180 were linked to gambling organizations in Macau, Hong Kong, Malaysia and the Philippines,” per the Macau Daily Times.
Given Macau’s status as one of the new international hubs for gambling, there’s a serious disconnect between China’s ruthless attitude and the efforts of the small, nominally independent island of Macau — technically a Chinese province — to court the gambling industry.
“Macau, the only place in China where casino gambling is legal, has already leapfrogged Las Vegas in gaming revenue after opening up its market to overseas operators in 2002,” writes Peter Brieger of the AFP, via AsiaOne.com.
“Frank Fahrenkopf, head of the American Gaming Association, said the city’s record-breaking revenues stood in sharp contrast to US destination venues such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City, which have been hit by the global downturn,” Brieger continues.
“Those are big numbers — people in Asia love to gamble,” Fahrenkopf was quoted.
That may be true, but many other Asian governments are trying fiercely to ensure their citizens can’t gamble online.
Recently, Cambodia announced a renewed crack down on online gambling, as did Malaysia.
“Phnom Penh Municipal Police Chief Touch Naruth said Monday that police are still targeting online gambling,” write Jeremy Mullins and Bun Tharum at the Phnom Penh Post.
“We still continue to crackdown on computer game shops that offer anything relating to gambling. These shops are illegal,” he said.