Gambling has been a thing in China since ancient times. Throughout history, Chinese leaders have mostly held a negative view of gambling for moral reasons, and this activity remains largely illegal in the country to this day.
However, exceptions are made for certain types of sports betting. On the other hand, online casinos are forbidden from operating on online soil. Yet, this does not stop Chinese players from gambling at off-shore licensed online casinos and sportsbooks, as Chinese law cannot prosecute individuals for these activities. As such, many leading European online casinos also accept players from China. These casinos also accept the RMB as a currency, are available in Mandarin or Cantonese, and boast many other benefits such as large bonuses, reliable customer support and a high factor of trustworthiness through proper licensing.
As a Chinese player, your primary concern may be getting your money in and out of the casino. Fortunately, online casinos offer a myriad of alternative payment options, such as e-wallets and cryptocurrency, which let you perform safe deposits and withdrawals. What’s more, Chinese online casinos are often powered by the world’s most respected software providers, meaning you can expect hundreds upon hundreds of games of all kinds: Blackjack, Roulette, Pai Gow, Mahjong, Slot Machines, and so forth. Looking to get started? Read on for more details on Chinese online casinos, or have a look at our pre-approved Chinese online casinos that been thoroughly reviewed by our team of experts.
China is witnessing a golden age of technological advancement, and many Chinese brands are becoming world leaders in terms of smartphone sales and similar technological devices. The country has been quick to follow global trends, and despite its massive population of over 1.4 billion citizens, more than half of them own a smartphone. To be more precise, over 55% of the population, or over 780,000,000 citizens. The number of smartphone users in China that operate devices on the fast 4G network is over 78%, meaning the majority of Chinese have the luxury of fast and stable mobile connections regardless of their location.
The most popular smartphone brands in China are OPPO, Vivo, Huawei, Samsung and Honor, whereas the most popular devices are the Honor V20, The Vivo X27, the Huawei P30 Lite, Samsung Galaxy S10 and the OPPO Reno Series. This paves the way for reliable, uninterrupted mobile gaming sessions. However, as Chinese people need to access online casinos via VPN, the majority of gamblers still use desktop and laptops to access online gambling.
Online casinos that offer their services to Chinese gamblers all adhere to strict industry standards of offering a mobile version of their casino, easily accessible by a downloadable app for Android and iOS, or through a browser-accessible mobile casino. Chinese mobile casinos also offer mobile customer support, the ability to make mobile payments and withdrawals, and hundreds of mobile casino games.
Gambling has been an attractive venue for entertainment and profits for as long as man has existed. The very nature of risking something for a greater payoff induces excitement in the human mind. While it is difficult to pinpoint when and where gambling originated, many historians and experts believe it all began in ancient China. Therefore, China has the largest and most complicated history of gambling in the world.
Experts have found gambling records dating back as far as 2,100 years B.C. Interestingly enough, it is known that the game we know as Keno was played around this time. What’s more, games with similar traits to Poker and Blackjack were also thought to be played by Chinese upper-class citizens and members of its military. Throughout history, gambling had a similar view by the government as it does today; it was thought of as an evil obsession that would generate serious problems in society. Therefore, it has been officially banned or frowned up even during ancient times.
Yet, this did not stop the Chinese people, and during the Spring and Autumn periods (771 to 476 BC) in China, gambling became completely mainstream. Nearly everyone was indulging in wagering on various games, from villagers on the country side to high class citizens and military men, the latter of which often faced repercussion for overindulgence. During the Tang (617 – 908 A.D.) and Northern Song (950 – 1128 A.D.) dynasties, the first forms of gambling venues i.e. casinos began to appear. It is around this time that Xuan He Pai was invented, which is the basis for modern day Mahjong. Gambling continued to thrive in the middle ages as well, and many people began to treat it as a form of livelihood, which read to obvious problems.
As such, links with underground criminal activities and corruption became inevitable. The years 1930-1950 also introduced many new games to the Chinese market, but not long after the People’s Republic of China was formed (1949) gambling took a major hit as all gambling activities were completely outlawed. Today, only state-run lotteries are legal in China, and bettors can indulge in placing wagers on horse racing and sports matches. However, this has not stopped Chinese people from placing wagers in online casinos through VPN proxies. It is estimated that illegal bets valued at over one trillion Chinese yuan ($140,000,000+) are placed on an annual basis through mainland China.
In Hong Kong, which is a partly autonomous region of China, some forms of gambling are legal, as the region is allowed to form most of its own laws. In fact, gambling in Hong Kong has been legal since 1977.
Macau, known as the Las Vegas of the east, has actually surpassed Vegas in terms of revenue back in 2007, with annual gambling revenues exceeding $28 billlion. Gambling in Macau has been legal since 1850. Today, the region hosts over 35 land casinos, attracting millions of tourists on a yearly basis, many of which are wealthy citizens from other parts of China.
Most forms of gambling are illegal in China, with the exception of state-run lotteries. This means online gambling is illegal as well. This has been the case ever since the foundation of the People’s Republic of China, in 1949. Mao Zedong, who governed the country at the time, considered gambling a great ill of society, and banned it entirely throughout the country.
Hong Kong and Macau are considered exceptions, and both have legal forms of gambling as they govern their own laws. Macau in particular is famous for its lucrative land casino business that rakes in billions of US dollars on an annual basis. It is estimated that that over $140,000,000 in online bets comes from China on an annual basis. Despite efforts on part of the Chinese government to block gambling websites, citizens can access online casinos through VPN proxies, as well as send and receive payments through various e-wallet payment providers and cryptocurrencies.
So, what does this mean for you? Can you get punished for gambling in China? Article 303 of the Criminal Law of China states the following: ’ Whoever, for the purpose of profit, gathers people to engage in gambling, runs a gambling house or makes gambling his profession shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than three years, criminal detention or public surveillance and shall also be fined.”
This means that casual gamers can face legal repercussions for engaging in online gambling. In practice, however, this happens extremely rarely. In most cases, individuals are faced with a fine no higher than 3,000 Chinese yuan. State-backed television channels in China make an effort to overstate the punishments for casual gambling, and report unrealistic number of arrests and fines in order to scare off the public from gambling. This is because the government loses a huge portion of potential tax revenue as all online bets are placed in off-shore casinos. This, in turn, could lead the country to regulate its own online gambling market. In the end, profits may be the catalyst for the government to change its mind regarding online betting, but as of right now, it is still illegal to gamble. Bottom line, you should not get in trouble for placing online bets, but we do recommend using a VPN to protect yourself.
Chinese players have enjoyed many forms of gambling over the centuries, and many of the games we know today have originated from the country’s ancient heritage. Mahjong, the tile game, has strong roots in China, and has spread to other parts of Asia as well, most notably in Japan. The game is still enjoyed in China today in both legal and illegal forms, including in many online casinos who prominently feature this game. Faith is a strong aspect of Chinese culture, which is why Chinese people often prefer pure games of chance with no skill factor involved, as they believe their faith will lead them to luck.
This is why Baccarat, which is essentially a 50/50 game that’s easy to pick up, is highly popular in the country. Pachinko, a game with Japanese origins ever since the middle ages, has also caught the attention of Chinese gamblers, and many of them enjoy it today. Sic Bo is also a popular game of choice in Chinese culture, as the game is over a thousand years old. Sic Bo boasts many betting options and is more complicated to get into, but it can be enjoyed at many online casinos offering their services to Chinese players.
Keno, which originated in China, is also popular to this day, as are Pai Gow and Pai Gow Poker. Of course, the Chinese love sports betting as well. Soccer and basketball are the most popular sports in the country, and many Chinese residents turn to online sportsbooks for their sports betting needs.
The number of online casinos that offer their services to Chinese players is high, and making a choice on where to play can be often difficult even to seasoned veterans. We are here to make this process easier for you, and as you read below you will l learn more about how we review online casinos, and which factors we look at to determine their quality and trustworthiness.
As gambling is highly popular in China, many of the world’s leading casino and sports betting brands do their utmost to market themselves to the Chinese player base. Since gambling ads are illegal in China, many of these operators will look to advertise their Chinese-focused online casinos and sportsbooks via sponsorship on famous sports teams, such is the case with kit sponsorships in various high-profile teams of the English Premier League. What we wrote above may not seem like it has much to do with security of Chinese online casinos, but it aims to prove a point – gambling companies are very serious when it comes to Chinese gamers, and they would never wrongfully treat any Chinese player. Of course, more tangible proof of security for Chinese players can be the fact that these online casinos are licensed and regulated by the market’s most respected licensing bodies, such as the Malta Gaming Authority and United Kingdom Gambling Commission. Any casino licensed by these regulatory bodies is a certain sign of trustworthiness. Those operators with shady practices have long lost their license to offer gambling services, meaning you have nothing to worry about when gambling at any of our recommended Chinese online casinos.
Every online casino that is accepting of Chinese players is available in traditional and simplified Chinese. In some exceptions, a casino may accept Chinese players, but will not be available in any of China’s languages. You can still play at this casino just like in any other, but you will need some mastery of the English language, especially when requesting customer support.
Customer support at Chinese online casinos is generally at an excellent level, with the casino offering players multiple venues of seeking assistance: Live Chat (24/7 – 7 days of the week), Telephone (International Toll-Free numbers) and Email (with 12-24 hour response times). This means that as a Chinese player you can expect smooth gaming sessions. Whenever you’re in a pickle, simply request an audience via live chat, and you will typically receive a response within a minute or two.
Security, customer support, payment options, these are all highly important aspects of each online casinos. Ultimately, however, a casino must have a quality set of games in order to retain players, and it is a big aspect we look at when reviewing each online casino. Fortunately, Chinese online casinos are often licensed within Europe, which allows them to feature games by prominent software companies such as Net Entertainment and Microgaming, boasting state-of-the-art games of sublime quality, variety in themes and excellent payout mechanics.
Slot machines are beloved across the globe, including among the Chinese player base. As online casinos offering their services to China are powered by the best slot providers in the industry, you can expect hundreds of Classic, Video and Progressive Slots on offer.
Table Games are a popular inclusion in every online casino with the likes of Blackjack, Roulette, Baccarat and Poker. However, many of these online casinos also include Chinese hits such as Mahjong, Pai Gow, Pai Gow Poker and Sic Bo.
Video Poker is not exactly the most popular game type in China, but Chinese online casinos often feature the likes of Deuces Wild, Jacks or Better and Aces & Eights, among other common titles in this category.
Many Chinese players have never had the opportunity to visit a land casino due to geographical limits. The Live Casino can amend this by offering a gaming experience that mimics physical casinos through high-definition streams and interactive hosts and presenters you can chat to in real time. What’s more, Live Casinos host dozens of unique Table Game variants, many of which are themed on Chinese culture.
Bonuses are one of the main benefits online casinos have over land casinos, and since the online competition is tooth and nail, online casinos will do their best to entice newcomers with generous welcome bonuses that will make it more than worth your while. This is the case with online casinos catering to the Chinese player base, and many forms of promotions await if you join any of our recommended Chinese online casinos.
Every Chinese player can expect to be treated to a valuable Welcome Bonus as a newcomer to their online casino of choice. This bonus type is by far the best value for your money, which is it can be claimed only once, doubling your initial deposit and thus offering a significant boost to your gambling budget.
Free Spins may be either paired with a Welcome Bonus match or offered as a standalone promotion. In any case, this promotion type is quite frequent among online casinos, and offers an additional venue for generating extra profits for Chinese players.
Winnings gained on state-run Chinese lotteries that surpass 10,000 RMB are liable for a flat 20% tax rate. Any lesser winnings are not subjected to taxation.
Many leading online casinos that accept players from China also offer Chinese Yuan as a currency of choice. However, you can still play at any online casino by using a different currency. Your Chinese Yuan deposit will simply be converted to your account’s available currency. In this case, you may be liable to currency conversion fees, but they are trivial at worst.
Online gambling is illegal in China, yet millions of Chinese players game at off-shore online casinos on a regular basis. While we cannot say for certain that it is safe for you to play at off-shore online casinos, governments usually go after the operators rather than the players when it comes to legal action.
There have been no recorded cases of punishment in the form of monetary fines and imprisonment for online gambling activities, despite the fact individuals who partake in these activities are technically breaking the law.
Absolutely. All online casinos that accept Chinese players give players the option of “Fun Play”. This way you can try out almost any game you like for free, with no time limits whatsoever. Free play is a good way of testing out games before you decide to play with real money. You can also play “for free” by claiming a no deposit bonus, but they are a rarity.
Chinese online casinos are overflowing with bonuses of all kinds. No matter where you sign-up, you can expect a deposit bonus or two to boost your bankroll by a significant margin.
Online casinos use bonuses as the primary way of attracting new players, as the online competition is tough. Therefore, besides the welcome bonus, you will also be showered with free spins bonuses, reload bonuses, cash back bonuses and even the occasional no deposit bonus.
Depending on the payment method you are using, some minor fees may be applied to your withdrawals. As a general rule of thumb, e-wallets are both the fastest and most cost-efficient withdrawal method for Chinese players. They incur little to no fees and support fast and easy transactions.
Withdrawals to cryptocurrency wallets are also subject to negligible fees, therefore they are a viable withdrawal option. The caveat is that they are more complicated to manage and use.
As per industry standard online casino regulations that go towards fair play and security, all players that wish to withdraw real money must verify their identity. This includes Chinese players as well.
This process is simple, and usually completed within 24 hours. Consult your online casino of choice on how to complete the verification process. Usually, a scan or a photo of your personal ID and/or a utility bill to your name no older than 3 months will suffice.
This will largely depend on the payment method you are using for withdrawing real money. In general, e-wallets such as PayPal, Neteller, Skrill and Cryptocurrency boast the fastest withdrawal times – 24 to 48 hours, but sometimes within a few hours or instantly.
Withdrawals via credit cards, debit cards and Bank Transfer are subjected to much longer waiting times, which may take up to a full working week.
Chinese players may face some hurdles at online casinos when it comes to depositing money, as the usual popular choices such as AliPay or WeChat Pay are not always accepted. However, players can turn to options such as UnionPay, one of the few payment providers that allow transactions between players and online casinos. Keep in mind, however, that you will need to link your bank account to your UnionPay wallet.
Direct Bank Transfers are also an option, but they are also subjected to large fees, both when depositing and withdrawing funds. PayPal, one of the most popular digital wallets in the world, is largely unheard of in China, as the country boasts its own alternatives in the form of AliPay. Yet, you may find some online casinos that will accept your deposits and withdrawals via PayPal.