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China cracks down private gambling in WeChat groups during World Cup

Niji Ng

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China cracks down private gambling in WeChat groups during World Cup
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Online gambling was banned by the Chinese government in 2015. But the FIFA World Cup in Russia triggered a sudden growth of online gambling activities, especially in WeChat groups.

The Chinese authorities are cracking down such illegal gambling operations. The government is concerned that online lotteries, driven by profit, may give access to underage teenagers or create other management loopholes, while others complain about the inconvenience of going into a lottery store and said the ban has prompted many to bet in WeChat groups or go to foreign websites.

“Always illegal”

During the World Cup this year, mobile apps and websites selling the lotteries have flourished, with some topping the app store list, including the Tiantianaicaipiao, Renrenzhongcaipiao and Caipiaocaipiao.

After the official clampdown, however, such platforms and those backed by Weibo and Tencent have suspended operations, CNR reported. Many such websites come up with this notice when one tries to log on: “System is under maintenance and upgrade.”

“Purchasing lotteries online has always been illegal. Relatively lax supervision by authorities led to a spike in recent years,” Adrian Geng, the CEO of Sina Caitong, told the Global Times.

Operators are willing to take risks because of the allure of huge profits, Geng added.

In 2015, eight central government agencies banned online lottery, citing risks to buyers’ interests.

Under lottery management rules, no entity shall carry out the business of sale of lottery via internet without the approval of the Ministry of Finance. All sports lottery tickets are sold offline through branches run by the General Administration of Sports.

If lotteries were sold widely online, underage teenagers who are not allowed to bet would get access. Income from online sales cannot be identified at a provincial level as Chinese lottery sales are province-based, Geng explained.

As of June 20, the National Sports Lottery Center suspended thousands of sales terminals involved in online ticket sales in many provinces, Xinhualuncai, a WeChat account specializing in lottery, reported. The number of suspended machines was expected to reach more than 6,000 on June 21, the report said.

Geng said that meeting social responsibility, rather than making money, is the ultimate goal of the National Sports Lottery Center. “That’s why the center wouldn’t use the FIFA World Cup to advertise itself for more revenue.”

Total sales of China’s sports lotteries in the week from June 18 to 24 stood at 11.83 billion yuan ($1.7 billion), while it was only 1.6 billion yuan a week before the World Cup, data released on sporttery.cn, official website of lottery SMG, shows.

Not market-driven

Even though online lottery is banned, Chinese gamblers still have many options to taste the thrill of betting.

Xue, a PhD student based in Shanghai, said that many of his friends use private gambling in WeChat groups, in which one person is the “banker” and provides winning and losing rates.

Mobile payment on Alipay and WeChat allows us to gamble in private with small amounts of money more conveniently. We don’t have to choose online lottery,” Xue told the Global Times.

“I feel everyone is betting this year during the World Cup. Even many people who don’t watch soccer matches are into it,” he said.

Foreign gambling websites also illegally sneak into the Chinese market in an effort to take a share of the spoils, which results in huge outflow of capital of Chinese citizens, Chen Haiping, a researcher at the Gaming Research Center of China with Beijing Normal University, told the Global Times.

Some stores or groups on platforms such as Taobao, WeChat and QQ have also been found claiming that they are commissioned to sell lottery, according to Nandu Daily.

Lottery is seen as a welfare project in China. Its issuers are not motivated by the market, only routinely raising funds to meet the financing gap of the government for good causes, Chen noted.

But the trend of internet, said Chen, is irresistible and the lottery has already developed into an industry involving tourism, amusement and culture. There has been talk of opening online lottery services inside Chinese government circles in recent years, but since different interest groups are involved, the progress has been slow.

 

Source: globaltimes.cn

Niji has been in the writing industry for well over a decade or so. He prides himself as one of the few survivors left in the world who have actually mastered the impossible art of copy editing. Niji graduated in Physics and obtained his Master’s degree in Communication and Journalism. He has always interested in sports writing and travel writing. He has written for numerous websites and his in-depth analytical articles top sports magazines like Cricket Today and Sports Today. Besides reporting industry headlines from all around the globe, Niji is also head of the content management team at Impressions Content Management, based in Kerala, India, which offers writing and editing services to clients around the world.

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Asia

China declares eSports as a profession

Niji Ng

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China declares eSports as a profession
Photo Source: esportsobserver.com
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China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (CMHRSS) has officially recognised esports as a profession. The new professions “esports operator” and “esports professional” are included in the 15 new professions approved by the government.
The other professions in the list include AI engineer, big data engineer and drone pilot.

CMHRSS defines “esports operators” as those who organise esports events or produce esports content, as well as those who increase the commercial value of esports through promotion and marketing.

“Esports professionals” are considered those who compete in tournaments, perform in events, or train with other professionals. It can also refer to those who analyse games or assist with training.

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MGM China Reports 2018 Annual Results

George Miller

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MGM China Reports 2018 Annual Results
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Group Revenue Grew 33% Year-on-Year MGM COTAI Opened and Ramping Up

 

MGM China Holdings Limited announced the selected financial data of the Company and its subsidiaries for the three months (the “Quarter”) and 12 months ended December 31, 2018 (the “Year”).

  • During the Year, MGM China recorded revenue of HK$19.2 billion (2017: HK$14.5 billion), growth of approximately 33% year on year. Adjusted EBITDA reached HK$4.8 billion, compared to HK$4.6 billion a year ago.
  • MGM China recorded a growth of approximately 34% year-on-year for mass table win, 59% growth for slot win; and 13% growth for VIP table game win.
  • For the Quarter, MGM China recorded sequential revenue growth of approximately 13% to HK$5.4 billion. Adjusted EBITDA grew by approximately 26% to HK$1.4 billion from the previous quarter.
  • Main floor gross table game win for the Quarter was up 13% sequentially, compared to market growth of approximately 9%. VIP gross table games win was up 19%, compared to market growth of approximately 4%.
  • Adjusted EBITDA margin for the Quarter improved to 26.3%, up by 280 basis points sequentially.
  • MGM Cotai continued to ramp since the property opened in February 2018. All gaming segments recorded impressive sequential growth in both volume and win. Fourth-quarter revenue was up approximately 67% to HK$2.2 billion while adjusted EBITDA grew more than triple to HK$462.9 million. Margin rose to 20.6% for the quarter compared to 9.6% in the previous quarter.
  • Targeting a broader market segment, MGM Cotai is equipped with expanded non-gaming offerings. The food and beverage outlets, especially Chinese dining, have been well received. Customers are also impressed by the one-of-the-kind experiences brought by MGM Cotai Theater. The Space had hosted various kinds of events and concerts with top artists including Sam Smith where both the audience and artists are fond of its design and quality. We have filled up the Theater’s entertainment calendar for 2019 in collaboration of effort with both the MGM Resorts International entertainment team and our Macau team. We hope to deliver multisensory theatre experiences unlike any others in Macau.

Grant Bowie, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of MGM China said: “We are building the momentum at MGM Cotai. We are also very excited about the launch of Mansion villas which aim to provide unique and exclusive experiences for our high-quality customers. Our focus is on getting all the elements at MGM Cotai fully open and continue to take market share. We believe MGM COTAI will drive greater product diversification and bring more advanced and innovative forms of entertainment to Macau as it grows as a global tourism destination.”

 

About MGM China Holdings Limited:

MGM China Holdings Limited (HKEx: 2282) is a leading developer, owner and operator of gaming and lodging resorts in the Greater China region. We are the holding company of MGM Grand Paradise, SA which holds one of the six gaming concessions/subconcessions to run casino games in Macau. MGM Grand Paradise, SA owns and operates MGM MACAU, the award-winning premium integrated resort located on the Macau Peninsula and MGM COTAI, a contemporary luxury integrated resort in Cotai, which opened in early 2018 and more than doubles our presence in Macau.

MGM China is majority owned by MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) one of the world’s leading global hospitality companies, operating a portfolio of destination resort brands including Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and The Mirage. For more information about MGM Resorts International, visit the Company’s website at www.mgmresorts.com.

 

Source: MGM China

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India’s parliament seeks answer on fantasy sports legality

Niji Ng

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India's parliament seeks answer on fantasy sports legality
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The central government of India did not give a clear-cut response to the question on the legality of fantasy sports and proposal to regulate it. The question was raised in the Indian parliament by Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS) MP AP Jithender Reddy.

Reddy, in an unstarred question dated 8 February 2019 asked whether the central government has any plans to regulate fantasy sports; the number of cases pending in consumer courts relating to fantasy sports and whether fantasy sports is a “game of skill” or gambling/betting as per Supreme Court’s decision.

Reddy also sought to know whether the activity falls within the ambit of “gambling and betting” under the state list (List II of the Seventh Schedule) of the Indian constitution and also if the central government intends to enact laws to govern financial transactions relating to the fantasy sports industry.

Union Minister of State for Finance, Pon Radhakrishnan, said betting and gambling comes under Entry 34 of List II of the Seventh Schedule of the Indian constitution and that the state governments are competent to enact laws on the issue.

The central government did not provide exact data on the cases pending in consumer courts relating to fantasy gaming. The finance ministry also did not state whether it intends to bring any law to regulate financial transactions relating to fantasy sports or gaming.

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