Law Enforcement Cracks Down On Asia’s Online Gambling Rings
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Laws and policies regarding online gambling are still in flux in many countries around the world. Politicians and lawmakers still haven’t managed to find a safe, secure way to allow for online gambling in many countries, particularly those throughout Asia.

Gambling has long been an industry dominated by questionable, sometimes criminal forces; with the advent of the internet, it has now become even easier for gambling moguls to turn a profit without even entering a casino. Whether the managers of these online casinos are actually providing payouts to their winners is often in question. Even seemingly reputable online casinos are illegal in many countries, too, due to the high risk of player exploitation in online gambling.

Those wishing to engage in online gambling must be sure to do plenty of research before providing online casinos with their identification and credit card numbers. The recent arrests of many online gambling moguls around the world just go to prove that online gambling can be a risky business if one is not cautious in seeking out a reliable online provider.

The month of July proved to be a busy one in regards to online gaming and gambling. Online casino gaming grew in popularity, and the many matches of the 2014 FIFA World Cup provided gamblers and bookies alike with multiple opportunities to profit. China is one such country that has had to crack down on excessive gambling this month. The explosive growth of China’s economy in recent years has rapidly expanded the number of Chinese citizens gambling frequently. Studies released by Peking University’s China Center for Lottery Studies have proven that a whopping 600 billion yuan’s worth of capital leaves China annually as a result of betting on football (soccer) matches. The Chinese government has been doing their best to suppress online gambling and sports betting in the midst of the World Cup. Some arrests have been made, but it seems likely that many more online gambling rings continue to operate in private.

One young Chinese woman, Guo Meimei, 23, was arrested on July 10th as a result of illicitly betting on the World Cup. Meimei had gained notoriety as a result of pictures she had posted online depicting her excessive wealth, mansion, and fancy cars, all supposedly given to her by a former boyfriend. Meimei had a history of excessive gambling, and had racked up $42 million in gambling debts in the past. She had been under fire in 2011 after initially claiming that she had acquired her wealth as a director for the Red Cross of China, causing wide-spread outrage at the wealth she had seemingly acquired from the charity. It is thought that authorities were tipped off to her illicit World Cup betting after she posted her gambling sheet on a popular Chinese social media site, lamenting her current losses. It seems that this young woman’s high-flying ways have finally caught up with her, and it is unlikely that she will be placing such bets again in the near future.

It seems that China is taking gambling crimes more seriously than ever, arresting gamblers and illicit bookies alike. Early this July, China arrested 68 individuals for a host of crimes related to online gambling. 55 of those arrested were charged with operating illegal online casinos, 7 for illicit gambling, and 6 for committing both crimes. Though the Chinese state operates a legal state lottery and a select region of the country operates legal casinos, most gambling has been illegal in China since 1949. The bust is thought to be one of the biggest ever in China, with the gambling ring valued at $78 billion. The ring, which was run by a group of friends, focused on luring gamblers into placing bets with them on overseas gambling sites. The criminals now face steep fines and jail sentences that may last up to nine years. Chinese citizens may want to think twice before attempting illicit gambling in the future, as the state seems to be cracking down on online casinos more than ever.

A similar online gambling bust was made in the Philippines on July 10th. Four Korean residents were arrested for operating an illicit online casino. It is unclear what will transpire after the arrests of the individuals involved in the ring. Philippine laws have not yet been adapted to deal with the legal issues behind the operation of online casinos in the Philippines. A similar bust made in 2009 ended in a confusing ruling that ultimately claimed that those involved could not be punished, as the nation’s anti-gambling laws, which had been amended many times in the past, still did not account for what to do in instances of online casino gaming. Currently, lawmakers are attempting to push a bill through the Philippine justice system. It is unclear how this case will ultimately be resolved. It is clear, however, that the nation is working hard to prevent online gambling in the future.

An extensive online gambling network was also caught in Vietnam earlier this month. At present, all forms of gambling are illegal in the country. Duong Ba Lieu, 48, is accused of leading the illicit gambling ring, which is thought to have brought in more than $230 million. Lieu was thought to have brought in online gambling bets, which he would then sell off to his many sub-bookies. Eleven arrests have been made in the case thus far and two more suspects are currently being sought out.

For those living in Asia, online casinos are increasingly seen as a lucrative, if illegal, way to turn a quick profit. Unfortunately, as these many instances prove, illicit gambling schemes rarely end well for those involved. Americans must be cautious when betting with bookies in the states as well. The FBI also arrested eight bookies from Malaysia, China, and Hong Kong this July. All were accused of running an illicit multi-million dollar World Cup betting ring from Las Vegas’ Caesars Palace.

As always, online gambling must be done with caution. Gambling illegally often has its consequences, and you don’t want to have to be the one to suffer from them. Play legally, and know the origins of the sites you’re dealing with. If you do, you’re bound to have a good time.