China Expected To Release Blacklist Of Offshore Casino Sites Soon
China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism revealed that they are currently readying a blacklist for publication. The blacklist, which will contain the names of foreign casinos that target Chinese tourists, is expected to be the foundation for a series of travel restrictions set to be enforced by the Chinese government in the coming months.
Almost all gambling is outlawed in mainland China, aside from the lottery run by the state. Casinos are allowed only in Macau, an autonomous Special Administrative Region of China.
China has also said that they will be ramping up their monitoring of VIP junket groups that supervise the travel of high-rollers to foreign casinos, lending them the cash to gamble. Because China restricts its outbound travelers from bringing too much cash, junkets allow VIPs to gamble as high as they want on credit.
Macau Likely to Benefit from Blacklist
JP Morgan’s DS Kim, Derek Choi, and Jeremy An stated that China has not been clear on what it means by blacklisting. However, JP Morgan analysts opined that the key focus of China will be on underground agents and banks, as they have a direct impact on China’s other key interests.
Despite the ban on foreign casino ads in China, many foreign casinos entreat Chinese tourists to play at their venues through other means, particularly casinos based in Australia, Vietnam, Singapore, and the Philippines.
Union Gaming’s John DeCree believes that the forthcoming blacklist will ultimately benefit Macau. DeCree said that Macau has been losing its share of Chinese high-rollers to other Asian gaming destinations over the past few years. If these foreign casinos are blacklisted, Chinese VIPs will have no other choice but to go to Macau for their gambling fix.
The Philippines Expected to be in the Blacklist
While the specifics of the blacklist remain vague, most analysts believe that the Philippines will be a sure inclusion to the list. The Philippines currently has 60 licensed Internet casino companies, known locally as Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs).
These POGOs proactively entice Chinese gamblers with predominantly Chinese staff and hosts that make their stay as comfortable as possible.
Despite the calls from China to the Philippines to stop serving Chinese customers in POGOs, the Philippines’ president Rodrigo Duterte has stood firm, saying that POGOs were a key contributor to their economy in 2019.
There is no indication as of now as to when the blacklist will be released. Market analysts expect it to be before the end of 2020.