Is poker booming in China?

There are multitudes of law extravagances and exemptions which China government offers to foreigner and local investors, but nevertheless the true Macau paradise, gambling market in mainland China rests a really hard and close domain.

Huge success for the first live tournaments organized in China

However, it seems that at least something is moving in the right direction for poker. In 2012, the World Poker Tour (WPT) organized an event at the MGM Grand Sanaya in the Hainan Province. That event was the first no-limit event in mainland China history and drew 542 participants, including the legendary Phil Hellmuth. More impressive, Pokerstars last summer co-sponsored the 2014 Beijing Millions. The event attracted 2,732 players who paid a buy-in of approximately $480 which created a total prize pool of around $1,195,000. This event became the biggest tournament by field size ever held outside the United States.

Next tournament in Mainland China will be held in Beijing from December 17-21. Without doubt, attendance figures will be followed by the industry

Chen Qin wins record breaking Beijing Millions / Photo Pokerstars
Chen Qin wins record breaking Beijing Millions / Photo Pokerstars

Online Poker in China

The Guardian, a prestigious English newspaper, last month revealed about the UK based online casino Bet365 which apparently operates in China, “one of the most successful online gambling and casino games that can be accessed from inside the country”. They offer poker, sports betting and casino games without having any physical presence in the ‘red territory’ and repeatedly changing websites domains and names. Bet365 appeals to the fact that its gaming websites are not based in China, fact that avoid to be a Chinese law violation. “There’s nothing the Chinese government can do about it, other than block the sites, which they do”, said to the Guardian a Bet365 employee.

Online gambling is illegal in China and is nothing to doubt about it. A law issued in 2005 by Chinese legislators clearly states that “whoever, for the purpose of reaping profits, assembles a crowd to engage in gambling, opens a gambling house or makes an occupation of gambling is to be sentenced to not more than 3 years of fixed-term imprisonment, criminal detention or control, in addition to fine”.

Analyzing the law interpretation is also easy to find out that “whoever, for the purpose of reaping profits, sets up gambling websites on the internet or acts as an online gambling agent will regarded as opening houses and will be punished according to article 303 of the criminal law”. But as we saw law doesn’t stop foreigner companies who want to act in the gambling market. Currently a large number of poker sites are effectively offering poker games to Chinese citizen.

Read the law and discover the loophole! So, gambling legalization in China is definitely a matter of time.

Online gambling legalization?

Two national lotteries exist in China because the government is obviously in search of new revenues, gambling is of course a good source for that. Going over the online gambling chance, ChinaDaily, a Chinese official online website-news, has recently well- spoken about the growing equestrian industry in the mainland which could bring revenues for $136 billion each year if linked to the horse-race betting. Is a stand by and many futuristic hippodromes are already waiting to open for betting. So we can hear it, Chinese gambling everywhere for all is on the surround, but still low.

Avatar photo

Louis Hartwell

Graduated in Media Communication at the University of Lausanne, Louis Hartman is a co-founder of He began his career in Cambodia as freelance journalist. In same time he was making his living by playing poker every night at that time. Intense learner, he read dozens of poker strategy books to improve his skills during many years. With a strong interest about poker "behind the scene" in Asia and his communication skills, Louis launched Somuchpoker in 2014.

More Posts

Follow Me:
Special EmailTwitterFacebookFlickrYouTube