In China and the standing committee of the National People’s Congress has reportedly approved new legislation that is to bring in tough penalties for anyone found guilty of facilitating overseas gambling.

According to a report from GGRAsia citing an earlier story from the state-run Xinhua news agency, this third and final endorsement means that the giant country’s existing criminal code will be amended from the first day of March so as to make it a crime for firms or individuals to solicit citizens into gambling overseas. The source detailed that this prohibition could also cover trips into the neighboring casino hotspot of Macau and see guilty parties hit with a hefty fine in addition to an up to ten-year prison sentence.

Domestic damage:

China has reportedly long been attempting to crack-down on its citizens going abroad to gamble with the nation’s Culture and Tourism Ministry having established a ‘blacklist’ of foreign tourist destinations in August. The government is purportedly thought to believe that such overseas locations disrupt the local tourism market and lead to large amounts of native currency flowing out of the country.

Far-reaching upshot:

The coming legislation will reportedly moreover make it a crime to organize gambling ‘outside the country borders’ and is to see the decade-long custodial sentence applied in cases that result in ‘grave consequences’ or where a ‘serious’ amount of cash is involved. The source cited Wang Changbin from Macao Polytechnic Institute as declaring that the ambiguous nature of these criteria means that the coming prohibition could soon apply to China’s special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau as well as to its contested province of Taiwan.

Wang reportedly proclaimed…

“This legal change could have implications for Macau’s junket sector. I think they could be the ones taking the biggest hit.”

Commensurate consequences:

The upcoming changes to Article 303 of China’s criminal code are to reportedly bring the penalties for solicitation in line with those instituted against anyone found guilty of serious instances of operating an illegal casino. The alteration has purportedly furthermore increased the minimum prison term for those convicted of illicitly ‘opening casinos’ to three years while leaving the maximum incarceration period for punters found to have unlawfully gambled at the same three-year duration.