Chinese Police Bust $10 Million Cryptocurrency Gambling Operation – 15 Arrested
Police in the north-eastern Chinese city of Yancheng have shut down a $10 million per-annum cryptocurrency-powered online casino.
Fifteen people across the country were arrested, reports local news outlet Toutiao.
The online casino, called Biggame, ran on the blockchain network EOS.
EOS was hotly tipped to be one of the biggest cryptocurrencies a few years back but has so far failed to gather the same interest as its biggest rivals in the digital currency sphere, such as Ethereum or the granddaddy Bitcoin.
This particular bit of code allowed users to play a relatively crude set of just five online casino games, including Texas Hold ‘Em Poker, a craps-style dice game, and a fruit machine slot game.
All of them required the use of the EOS Cryptocurrency.
Online gamblers in China have limited options, though. So, despite being an unpolished operation by international standards, the app was quite successful.
Authorities seized $3.8 million in EOS and BTC when they conducted their raids back in December, according to Crypto news site CoinGeek.
They told local reporters that they estimate the operation was bringing in around $10 million a year in bets.
Over 100 police officers were involved in the raids, including in some in the country’s biggest cities like Guangzhou and Shanghai.
Chase, Intercept, and Detect
“No matter how complicated the case is, our police will make every effort to chase, intercept, and detect it [illegal online gambling] quickly,” said local politician Guo Gang after the arrests were revealed to the public.
The Yancheng police reportedly trawled through over 27 million transactions to find the addresses and contact details of Biggame’s operators.
This isn’t the first time China has bought a swift hammer down on those who provide illegal online gambling services to Chinese citizens from within (and sometimes outside of) its borders.
Some Chinese citizens regularly visiting Macau for the sole purpose of gambling at its casinos may face a ban upon returning to their home country.
Yancheng police were also at the center of one of the world’s biggest ever scams, the China-based fake cryptocurrency exchange PlusToken.
In 2019, officers from Yancheng’s nationally respected cyber-crime unit co-ordinated a bust of PlusToken in which $4 billion worth of Crypto was seized and given over to the national coffers.
That included 194,000 Bitcoin, 833,000 Ethereum, and 27.6 million EOS.
This latest bust may not have been on that level, but it certainly might make some would-be online casino operators in China think again.
The Toutiao report did not elaborate on what potential sentences or punishments may be handed down to those arrested.
The Chinese government is not known for its lenience in most respects, so who knows what might have happened to them.
As well as this latest bust, official figures from China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism say that over 1,400 illegal gambling sites have been shut down so far in 2020 alone – with over 60,000 people arrested.
Despite their non-stop efforts to crackdown, the cryptocurrency casino market in China is still estimated to be worth billions a year. For the latest updates on world governments’ attempts to stop illegal online casinos, plus news from the fully-legal online casino sector.