Gambling is against the law in China other than in Macau. As a result, a sea gambling industry centered on China has emerged in Southeast Asian countries, like judi online in Indonesia, Philippines, including Cambodia. The driving factor for the development of online gaming in the Cambodian port, the city of Sihanoukville is the attractive economic return.
Regardless of the economic rewards brought by gambling, the arrival of Chinese citizens into Cambodia has resulted in an upsurge in the number of criminal offenses which include extortion, kidnapping, and even murder. Casinos also exposed the cessation of money laundering and child labor. A lot of massage rooms have been established to benefit gamblers. The expansion of Chinese people associated with gambling-related issues has negatively affected national security and public order (including social order).
The Philippines is an alternative to Cambodia and another hot spot in the development of online games in China. In April 2019, an estimated 138,000 Chinese citizens obtained work permits for Chinese gaming establishments called Philippine Offshore Game Operators (POGO) locally. Due to the development of the gambling industry, the number of reported crimes related to gambling has increased, including the kidnapping of Chinese citizens as perpetrators.
From a socio-economic point of view, conditional actions should be maintained instead of completely banning China’s overseas gambling activities. On the one hand, the governments of Cambodia and the Philippines should impose strict regulations on the operation of sea gambling activities, for example, strengthen recruitment reviews to ensure that underage children are not employed by game operators, and prohibit the operation of massage parlors.
On the other hand, these governments should hire more law enforcement personnel to supervise the daily activities inside and outside the casino to prevent money laundering and other gambling-related crimes. An independent supervisory agency should be established to monitor the actions of law enforcement officials and arrest those involved in corrupt activities.
In addition, immigration screening should be strengthened to ensure that all Chinese citizens entering these Southeast Asian countries have valid work permits. All Chinese citizens who participate in game-related activities with visitor visas should be arrested and deported. In addition, immigration authorities should limit the issuance of work visas to Chinese citizens to prevent China’s overseas gambling industry from developing too much.
By restricting the scope and activities of the maritime gambling industry, Southeast Asian countries can continue to reap huge profits from gambling-related fees and taxes. These countries can also provide local residents with a range of employment opportunities to help minimize their unemployment rate.
In general, for the socio-economic development of Southeast Asian countries, China’s maritime gambling activities should be restricted, not absolutely prohibited.