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China Expected as Next Online Gambling Target

5 July 2005

CHINA – As reported by the Globe and Mail: "Even in the midst of a national anti-gambling crackdown, it only took a few minutes for The Globe and Mail's Beijing bureau to place an illegal wager.

"…Gambling has been illegal in China since the Communist revolution, yet it remains a powerful lure for millions of people here. An estimated $50-billion (U.S.) is spent annually at underground casinos and gambling rings in China.

"But in China and around the world, betting is exploding onto the Internet -- a medium where the chips fall where they may, heedless of local limitations and laws. The on-line gambling industry has grown exponentially in recent years but many players in the business still say the sky's the limit.

"…Because the industry is maturing in Europe and North America, many experts fixate on China as the site of the next big gold rush.

"…Gambling continues to thrive in China, even though the government is still officially in the throes of a 'relentless strike' against it.

"…Yet, according to media reports here, more than 780 foreign gambling websites are providing Chinese-language web pages. And The Globe's bureau in Beijing found it easy to evade the rules and make wagers.

"…Montreal's Desjardins Securities held a conference at the city's casino in June to endorse some Canadian companies involved in Internet gambling.

"But most investors who attended wanted to know about the prospects for the industry's growth in China -- a subject matter that was also exciting more than 1,000 people gathered in downtown Montreal, at the three-day Global Interactive Gaming Summit and Expo…"

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