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A $28 billion Chinese gambling business has nine people imprisoned

China maintains its vehement anti-gambling stance, prosecuting anyone who violates the law. This time, nine people have been sentenced to prison for their roles in a large online gambling network that earned more than $28 billion.

According to GGRAsia, which cited a Chinese media site, the group began activities in 2014. They were also conducting a land-based casino in Yunnan, Myanmar, on the other side of the Chinese border at the time.

Authorities came in and shut down the organisation after tracing its roots. The nine unidentified organisers have already had their day in court and got varying penalties based on their involvement.

The End of an Era

During the seven-year operation, the group reportedly made roughly CNY197.8 billion (US$28.6 billion). It accepted and settled wagers for various gaming activities while continually seeking new clients to keep the wheels revolving.

Live gambling was one of the channels employed by the organisers. Players could view live feeds of various casino games taking place at the Myanmar casino in the Mong La province. They might then place bets on the outcomes of the games, including baccarat.

Chinese prosecutors found the organisers guilty of cross-border gambling due to the casino's involvement in Myanmar. This was on top of the core illegality of operating a casino.

Prosecutors also claimed that the nine people in charge of the operation were scattered across the country. They came from the provinces of Hebei, Shaanxi, and Henan, as well as Hunan, according to GGRAsia.

In order to develop their network, the group also created facilities for proxy betting. The group has over 253K users at its peak of activity.

Despite the gross revenue earned by the outfit and the amount of time it was in operation, the punishments were not harsh. They can be as short as 18 months or as long as five years.

Mong La Has a History of Opposition

Mong La has been regularly linked to illicit behaviour. It has been dubbed Myanmar's Sin City, a "sleaze capital," and other things throughout the last decade.

It's also a popular gambling destination, which China despises. Last year, China issued an ultimatum to residents in the province in response to allegations that illicit commerce in the region is conducted by Chinese for Chinese. All Chinese were forced to return to their homeland or face the repercussions.

Exclusion from welfare and public services were among the possible consequences. Those who make a good life in Mong La are unlikely to care. China, however, increased the threat to include the individuals' families as well.

Despite the warnings, nothing has changed. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) claimed four months ago that the Mekong subregion, of which Myanmar is a part, is riddled with crime and illegal gaming.

Today, criminal gangs, some led by Chinese nationals, continue to launder money and sell drugs through unlicensed casinos in Mong La and other provinces. In other circumstances, they are protected and supported by local military forces.

Myanmar had a military takeover in February of last year. There has been no change since then. According to the UNODC, certain places are today more lawless than ever before. Furthermore, with China increasing pressure on the mainland and Macau, some fear that the lawlessness will only worsen.



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