(Yicai Global) July 8 -- Suncity Group's gargantuan gambling network platforms in the Philippines and Cambodia are enticing mainland China's gamblers to lay their wagers on its servers abroad.
Domestic players bet more than CNY1 trillion (USD145.2 billion) each year in these virtual casinos, almost twice the revenue of China's national lotteries, Economic Information Daily reported today.
The profits from this network number in the dozens of billions of yuan and these funds flow outside China's borders via underground banks, per the report.
Casino games, mah-jongg, poker and sports betting via non-approved channels are crimes in the mainland, e-gambling portal OnlineBetting reported. Legal gambling includes that on sports, lotteries, and virtual terminals similar to slot machines, and yielded profit of CNY261.5 billion (USD38 billion) in 2012, per the report, with 347,000 people prosecuted for gambling offenses that same year.
Suncity's online gambling platforms, which in effect open wagering dens in China, have caused great harm to China's social order and financial security, said Prof. Tan Qiugui at Beijing's prestigious China University of Political Science and Law. This should arouse great attention among regulators, Tan added.
Suncity has successfully moved conventional gambling online from physical casinos, enabling mainland bettors to gamble on its online platforms at all times and places via smartphone or computer and settle their bets locally and covertly in yuan.
Suncity's platform, which has run now for more than four years, claims hundreds of thousands of members. Bets from the mainland have been over CNY100 billion (USD14.5 billion) each month on average recently, in an annual amount nearly twice the CNY511.47 billion of China's total lottery sales revenue last year, the report said, citing sources.
Suncity is thus far the only overseas online gambling platform to lure Chinese gamblers to bet by setting up online gambling houses abroad that has been able to so deeply infiltrate the mainland, various experts said.
Suncity's online gambling platforms are units of Hong Kong-listed Suncity Group, one source said, though company staffers said they were unaware of the online gambling and would not comment on it in several phone calls with the Economic Information Daily, per its report.
Macau-based Suncity is shifting toward becoming a gambling tourism resort service provider.
Formed in 2007,the company provides gaming, travel, dining, media and entertainment services. It also develops property and natural resources and offers wealth management, securities exchanges, corporate and personal loans, mortgages and luxury lifestyle consultations.
Editor: Ben Armour