China's determined enforcement of anti-online gambling laws should be strengthened by new guidelines developed for criminal law, based on police experiences in this year's enforcement drive (see previous InfoPowa reports).
The changes were documented in notifications jointly issued by the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate and the Ministry of Public Security, and aim to remove ambiguities regarding Internet gambling.
Detailing the changes, the Xinghua news agency reports that anyone who establishes or runs a gambling den in China can expect penalties of up to three years in jail and fines. In serious cases, the penalty can be three to 10 years in jail and fines.
The law can be applied to anyone who establishes a gambling website and takes bets; establishes a gambling website and provides it to others to organise gambling; acts as an agent for a gambling website and takes bets; or shares profits with gambling websites.
All these activities will be regarded as "establishing or running a gambling house" under the Criminal Law.
Serious Internet gambling crimes are defined as those where total commissions exceed 30,000 yuan; total gambling volume exceeds 300,000 yuan; the number of gamblers exceeds 120; the provision of a gambling website to others earns an illegal income of more than 30,000 yuan; or shared profits of a gambling website exceed 30,000 yuan.
Anyone who recruits agents to take bets for gambling websites, or solicits juveniles to participate in Internet gambling will also face prosecution for serious offences.
On Tuesday this week the Ministry of Public Security updated its record of prosecutions achieved during the anti-internet gambling drive which started in January 2010, advising in a statement that over 7,360 people had been arrested and prosecuted nationwide, and almost one billion yuan (US$148 million) seized.
The Ministry revealed that police had dealt with 1,364 Internet gambling cases by the end of August, broken up more than 130 gangs connected with overseas gambling websites and detained about 320 foreign suspects originally from Hong Kong, Macau, the Philippines and Malaysia.
The arrests included 810 people caught gambling on the football World Cup mid-year.
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