A prominent US online gaming lawyer has said that China would benefit from legalising and regulating online gaming.
According to the Macau Daily Times, Anthony Cabot made the comments at a gaming summit in Macau recently. Cabot is a partner at Lewis Roca Rothberger which, according to the law firm’s website, offers services on ‘interactive gaming,’ ‘gaming’ and ‘tribal affairs and gaming.’
Cabot said that there were players in the online gaming industry who were already targeting potential Chinese customers, which showed there was significant interest in online gaming from China. “Right now, almost 200 gaming sites are available in Chinese languages and about 20 accept Chinese Renminbi and 14 accept Hong Kong dollars,” he said.
Another point that was raised by Cabot during the summit was his belief that most people engage in online gaming on illegal sites due to the fact “they don’t need to pay tax.” Cabot was quoted as saying that the Chinese government could take advantage of this by “permitting financial transactions at lower costs than the illegal sites.”
In a financial context, Cabot’s sentiments and suggestions are certainly viable. Many Chinese pursue live gaming as a pastime, with the bulk of casino patrons in the gaming enclave of Macau coming from mainland China.
Should even a minority of those patrons take up gaming online, it would likely lead to growing revenue for gaming companies and the economies in which they are based. A number of poker tournaments have also been aired in China in recent years, which has helped lead to a growing awareness and popularity of the game in the country.
The growing number of poker events held in Macau, such as the Macau Poker Cup and the Asia Championship of Poker (ACOP), have also attracted many Chinese participants, which has also played a part in greater awareness of the game.
Government regulation of online gaming is not something that should be done overnight as doing it right takes widespread consultation and formulation of clear cut plans and policies. However, in the long term, online gaming regulation could be an added benefit to the already growing economy of China.