A Glance at China’s Long Love Affair with Gambling
China has always been a hub for gambling, and it’s among the very oldest pastimes in the country. From ancient dynasties to modern Communism, gambling has remained a popular way for people to entertain themselves, along with providing plenty of tourism opportunities for the country, such as with Macau.
For those that want to learn more about the fascinating history of gambling within China and its many territories, this is a brief breakdown of how it first started and how it evolved into what it is today.
The Origins of the Pastime
Keno, which is one of the most popular games in the country today, was first played by Chinese citizens around 4,100 years ago. Along with this, many of the world’s most popular and well-known modern card games, such as poker and blackjack, are believed to have initially originated in ancient China, where many of the early versions can still be found in casinos around the country. Gambling within China has been banned for different periods of time, or simply under very strict regulatory control by the government. Despite that, many of these games have been able to retain their popularity to this day.
As can be expected, the pastime had first started as a form of entertainment in ancient China. Games of chance with betting were introduced when Xia (1900-1600 BC) and Shang (1600-1027 BC.) dynasties were at their height. Historians also believe that wagering was already very popular among those that were considered higher-class citizens of the Shang society.
The Laws Involved
Many ancient Chinese rulers actually believed that gambling would generate some long-lasting issues among the general public if it turned into an obsession. All of types of gambling were often associated with secretive societies that were often involved with drugs, illegal triads, and corruption. Hence, gambling has been under very strict regulatory control ever since and, often, completely banned at certain points throughout most of China’s gambling history.
Gambling in Modern China
As of 2016, the Chinese government allows its citizens to take part in lottery games if they are approved and 95% of the country’s cities offer a range of different lotteries that are available to anyone living in them.
When gambling was legalized it was mainly for the profit, as it generated huge revenue for the government. Since no one forces people to gamble, it was seen as a good way to get money from the citizens.
Legalised lotteries are available in most of China’s major cities such as Macau, Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Chinese punters love horse racing betting, too, and every week or the wealthy travel to Hong Kong or Singapore in order to gamble legally within international waters.
Macau, which houses the largest range of land-based casinos in the world, has become the Las Vegas of Asia, and has overtaken Nevada’s city as the largest gambling city across the planet. There are more than 17 types of games in city’s casinos, and in 2008 23 million tourists crossed its borders to see the city in all of its glory.