Seventeen Chinese nationals were arrested by Thailand police on Tuesday for the illegal operation of an online lottery.

All of the 17 arrested, including 14 men and 3 women, were in Thailand on tourist visas and were found to be facilitating customers in China with wagering when the Chiang Mai province house they were operating in was raided by police, according to information obtained on calvinayre.com. According to information obtained by police from the group ringleader, the house part of a company’s China operation was rented on August 5.

Thailand is a popular operating base for illegal online gambling operations, who serve mainly South Korean gambling base, obtained on pressreader.com, due to the relative ease of setup because entry visas aren’t needed and they can remain in Thailand without one for up to 90 days before having to obtain a visa. In addition, the Korean penalty for running illegal online lottery operations is stricter than in Thailand; the difference of a possible five-year sentence and fine in Korea versus a one to two year sentence and fine in Thailand.

A temporary suspension of all online lottery sales by China in February after determining that online sales weren’t being reported in their entirety and a misappropriation of those sales by lottery administrators, has had a significant effect on associated businesses, including 500.com an online sports lottery service provider, and Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba, information from calvinayre.com. People’s Daily was also affected by the suspension. The daily newspaper in China which is the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, a worldwide publication with an approximate circulation of 13 to 14 million, was reported to have a 39.4 percent decline in profits as well as a 33 percent revenue growth decline from the same time last year, according to People.cn Co Ltd. A 48.6 percent revenue decline of Okooo.com’s online lottery business was attributed to the loss.

The online suspension of all lottery sales forced the business remodeling of many online companies, according to Li Zichuan, a financial services platform consultant. According to Li, rather than attempting to completely halt the industry, the temporary suspension is that government’s way of exerting more control over online gambling according to calvinayre.com.

The first six months of 2015 resulted in over 40 South Korean nationals being caught allegedly running online gambling websites, as reported by the Bangkok Post.

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