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China believed to be expanding blacklist to more overseas gambling destinations

BEIJING - China's blacklist system for cross-border gambling tourist destinations will add more overseas destinations to its list, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MCT) announced Tuesday.

The ministry in conjunction with relevant departments will make a list of the second batch of overseas destinations that attract Chinese tourists for gambling activities, which will be subsequently added to the system, the ministry noted.

In order to better regulate the tourism market and safeguard the lives and property of Chinese citizens, the blacklist system was established through concerted efforts of multiple departments, including the MCT, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Public Security. It took measures on the first group of targets in August 2020.

Travel restrictions will be imposed on Chinese citizens heading to overseas cities and scenic areas on the list, the MCT added. 

Investment analysts have previously said China’s backlist system was seen as a “gentle warning” to emerging gambling jurisdictions in Southeast Asia, such as Cambodia, the Philippines or Vietnam, and possibly to Australia – destinations where a vast majority of VIP demand is said to come from China, predominantly via junket operators.

Under a change in mainland China criminal law – approved in December and with effect from March 1 – anyone who “organises” mainland Chinese for the purpose of overseas gambling will be deemed to have committed a criminal act.