China Issues Notice Prohibiting Gambling Content In Games

Nov 18

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China handed down a notice that expressed that gambling content from gaming parlors, machines, and devices was banned.

The notice was released earlier this month and announced that new gambling restrictions would start to be enforced on January 1, 2020. This means that devices that permit small wagers, betting odds, or the ability to maximize earnings would be banned in China beginning next year

The new regulations would also be applied to devices such as slot machines that automatically decide the results for the user, as well as any token-based games that convert gaming credit to cash. The restrictions would also see the withdrawal of “steel balls,” which is a game identical to that of the popular Japanese slot machine game Pachinko.

In its notice, which was entitled “Measures for the Management of Gaming Equipment,” the ministry urged gambling and gaming machine makers to pay its respects to the traditional values inculcated in Chinese culture. This includes obeying core socialist values and producing games that offer independent intellectual property.

Gambling in all its forms is, at the moment, illegal on the Chinese mainland, with the exception of two state-run lotteries.

The document also cites the many different conditions attached to some forms of entertainment. Plush-toy crane and claw machines or any games that allow physical prizes would be required to have their winning odds displayed in the vicinity.

The ministry’s notice also stresses the banning of under-18 players from having anything to do with equipment that makes use of odds or games of chance.

Minors would only be allowed to enter premises that hold this kind of equipment on state holidays. The restriction is in line with the Chinese authorities’ strong belief that casinos and identical gambling establishments are “improper” for people under the age of 18 to use for an extended period of time.

The prohibition comes after a new gaming curfew intended for teenagers was disclosed earlier this month. This would see young people being given 90 minutes to play games during the week, with the time prolonged to three hours at weekends. Specific limits on spending are also being enforced according to the player’s age. Children aged eight to 16 can spend 200 yuan ($28.66) a month, while those between 16 and 18 are allowed 400 yuan ($57.32) on gaming.

Long-term penalties

According to the Chinese government, the new measures are being implemented to safeguard mental health and clear Internet space. The ministry’s notice states that if anyone is violating the law after it kicks in on January 1, they risk being handed disciplinary sanctions such as being placed on the “blacklist of cultural markets.”