The Chinese online gambling market will continue to grow despite the best efforts of the Chinese government to stamp it out, and the future of the market is blockchain.
That was the message from cryptocurrency expert Darin Oliver, who spoke to Inside Asian Gaming last week at the G2E gaming conference in Las Vegas.
Oliver is the CEO of blockchain online casino Blockdraw and he believes that the Chinese market will soon have the same kind of effect on online gambling as it has had on the live casino markets of Macau, the Philippines, and elsewhere.
Rapidly growing internet penetration rates in Asia indicate there will be a huge surge in new online gamblers in the coming years. While Russia is expected to add 20 million internet users over the next five years, China is expected to add a whopping 120 million.
Meanwhile, the biggest growth markets for cryptocurrency are currently China, the rest of East Asia, and Eastern Europe, which Oliver notes are also the biggest growth markets for gambling.
When you have these new opportunities for a financial industry to occur, and you have growth occurring in certain sectors, it represents an incredible opportunity which is why I’m very bullish on online gambling, particularly crypto-only online gambling,” he said.
China has promised to mete out “severe punishment” to those offering gambling to its citizens from abroad and is engaged in a continuous crackdown against online operators. All forms of gambling are illegal in the country with the exception of the state-owned national lottery and sports lottery.
The country operates a vast program of domestic internet censorship and regulation, dubbed “the Great Firewall,” blocking access to sites deemed undesirable as well as routinely monitoring the internet access of individuals.
But even with a huge task force of “internet police” — reported in 2013 to comprise some two million people — shutting out gambling is a difficult game of cat and mouse for Chinese authorities.
China-facing operators are increasingly embracing newer technologies like cryptocurrencies to stay a step ahead. And before last summer’s World Cup many migrated to social messaging platforms after their websites were shut down.
China Can’t Block Blockchain
Meanwhile, China’s ongoing crackdown on capital flight also boosts the appeal of cryptocurrency, says Oliver. Cryptocurrencies will always thrive in countries where faith in the domestic currency is weak. The inability to move renminbi out of the mainland will make investment in decentralized currencies more attractive, he adds.
The Chinese have a difficult time cracking down on crypto because it’s very moveable … and it’s not a surprise that crypto is popular in countries where the currency is questionable,” says Oliver.
“The idea that they can block crypto is nonsense. These countries already have problems with their currencies – every country in Eastern Europe struggles to have faith in their currency and the same rings true of the Chinese.”