Ahead of a planned meeting between the leaders of the two nations later this month and China has reportedly urged the Philippines to ‘ban all online gambling’ including those licensed operations that are being marketed towards Chinese players.

According to a report, the appeal was made by Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang during a Tuesday press conference only days after the Philippines publicly announced that it had temporarily stopped accepting applications for its lucrative Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) licenses.

Profitable pursuit:

The Philippines had already awarded 58 such POGO licenses before implementing the halt with the associated certification process having earned the Asian nation almost $51.5 million in the six months to the end of June, which represented approximately 7% of the half-year gross income of its Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCor) regulator.

‘Proxy’ prohibition:

GGRAsia reported that all forms of online gambling are banned in mainland China and the nation’s government is concerned that its citizens are illegally accessing Philippines-licensed domains in order to place wagers. Beijing is especially troubled by the provision of so-called ‘proxy betting’ in which players utilize live streaming or mobile telephones in order to gamble in real time at land-based casinos.

Geng reportedly stated…

“We hope the Philippines will go further and ban all online gambling. We hope it will further strengthen law enforcement with China and jointly tackle criminal activities including online gambling and cyber fraud. This will help create an enabling environment for our bilateral relations and peace and stability in the region.”

Recent repositioning:

The provision of ‘proxy betting’ services was outlawed by Macau in 2016 but has subsequently become popular among operators licensed in the Philippines with a high proportion of these targeted towards punters based in mainland China. Geng also used his plea to describe online gambling as the ‘most dangerous tumor in modern society’ and declared that it is an activity that is ‘detested by people all across the world.’

Cambodian commendation:

In related news and Geng moreover used his statement to praise a recent decision from Cambodia that is to see the Southeast Asian nation cease issuing or renewing its own online gambling licenses. The spokesperson purportedly proclaimed that ‘China highly appreciates’ the move and is now prepared to cooperate in order ‘to take effective measures’ that will ‘deepen law enforcement and security cooperation.’

Reportedly stated Geng…

“We believe it will help protect both Cambodian and Chinese people’s interests. It will also strengthen our law enforcement cooperation and friendly relations.”