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China has the biggest population in the world and it’s also home to thousands of millionaires and billionaires. It’s highly populated, very prosperous, and has a rich tradition of gambling and gaming.
It is no wonder that so many western online casinos and sports betting brands are looking to the east for new customers. But is gambling even legal in China, where do you stand if you gamble online in the country and what are the best online casinos for Chinese players?
Is Gambling Legal in China?
The gambling laws in China are not very straightforward, as is usually the case. On the one hand, China is home to the biggest and richest gambling city in the world, Macau; on the other hand they have some very strict gambling laws that declare this pastime to be illegal across the country.
There are exceptions and grey areas though and these may make it possible for Chinese players to gamble online and offline.
Gambling Laws in China
To understand gambling in China you need to understand Article 303 of the Criminal Law code. This is the law that governs all forms of gambling and openly states that it is prohibited.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that this law does not cover the regions of Macau, Hong Kong or Taiwan and it does not mention online gambling. It does mention that it is illegal to assemble a crowd for the purposes of gambling, but this does not cover online gambling, nor do any other statements mentioned in the criminal law of the Peoples’ Republic of China.
Online Gambling Laws in China
You will not find nationwide online casinos in China. Not now, and probably not for many years. But you will find offshore online casinos that allow players from China to join and this is a loophole that you can exploit when you are in China.
This is a loophole that is used by players in many countries, including the United States. The idea is that an online casino only needs to abide by the laws of the country in which it is based, and a player in China can play freely and legally because there are no laws stopping them using foreign sites when those foreign sites are operating within the law.
It sounds dodgy, but it’s not. After all, the vast majority of online casinos are only regulated in one or two countries yet they accept players from dozens more.
Casinos like Betway, Bet365 and WilliamHill are a good example. They operate with licenses from the UK (because UK law requires them to be regulated by the UK Gambling Commission) and the Malta Gaming Authority, and this gives them the right to offer services everywhere from Canada to Australia.
Can You Play Online Casinos in China?
If you find a casino that is regulated and offers its services to players in China then you just need to make sure you can use the payment methods it lists. This is not as easy as it sounds because many casinos just don’t focus on the Chinese market.
It means that widely used Chinese web wallets and instant payment methods are not available, and because of the laws governing gambling transactions you may also struggle to use credit cards and debit cards.
There are still plenty of options though and these are becoming increasingly common as more and more casinos open their doors to Chinese players.
What is the Best Way to Deposit into an Online Casino in China?
You want a payment method that they accept, but one that is also suited to your needs. This can be hard to find, and the vast majority of online casinos are based in the west and only cater for the western market.
In fact, this is even true of sites like Fun88 and BetEast, who label themselves as Asian Bookmakers but are very “western” in the way that they do business.
You also have to consider that some payment methods, such as credit and debit cards, may not be accepted if they are linked to a Chinese bank account.
There are a few web wallets that offer ways around this and wire/bank transfers may also be a viable option, but we find that the best option is to use cryptocurrencies. They are safe, secure, quick and anonymous—they were made for situations like this.
You can use a cryptocurrency exchange to swap them for CNY and there is no shortage of sites that you can use them on. Even the bigger China online casinos are accepting them these days and you can use everything from Bitcoin to Litecoin and more.
What Makes a Good China Online Casino?
You need a casino that:
- Is regulated overseas
- Accepts Chinese players
- Has accessible deposit options
There are thousands of casinos out there and it can be tricky to research them all and discover which ones you can join and which ones you can not. That’s why we have made the job easier for you—just look at the list on this page and signup to the one that suits you best.
These are all China online casinos, and most of them allow you to bet in Chinese Yuan and to view the site in Cantonese or Mandarin. However, the lack of such options does not necessarily mean that you cannot signup if you are Chinese.
What Makes a Bad China Online Casino?
The sites we have listed on this page have all been carefully selected by our reviewers. We made sure that they were all honest casinos with transparent policies, as opposed to just picking out any random casino that accepted Chinese players.
This is important, because there are casinos out there that will let you signup and deposit and only begin to make life difficult for you when it comes time to withdrawal. Legally, there is nothing stopping them doing this, and while it is morally wrong and can lead to bad reviews and a bad reputation, not all of them care.
For instance, they may limit your withdrawal options and refuse to offer you a viable alternative. They may even request that you verify your ID in a way that makes life very difficult for you and ultimately ends in a failed verification. They may even just tell you that they can’t withdraw money to Chinese accounts, hoping that you will then shrug your shoulders and leave.
If anything like this does happen, it’s important to stand your ground and don’t let them scare you into backing down. If they ask for ID, send it to them; if they tell you that they can’t withdraw to a Chinese account, complain to their regulator and let them know you’re making such a complaint.
Don’t let bad casinos win.
Or, alternatively, you could just signup to one of the reputable China online casinos on this page.