Chinese Poker Club Busted For Being A Gambling Front

China may be the nation with the world’s largest population, but gambling is still illegal for its 1.35 billion inhabitants outside of the island resort of Macau. That doesn’t prevent officially recognized poker club’s springing up across the mainland, as some regions recognize poker as a game of skill, but recently one such venue in the Hubei Province was raided by police after it was discovered to actually be operating as a gambling house.
In addition to hosting Texas Hold’em Poker games, the Wuhan PK365 Club was also found to be offering its visitors the option to gamble at one of its 17 gambling tables and two VIP rooms. In fact, demand was so great for the establishment’s services that in the first half of 2015 it generated a staggering 300 million yuan ($45.5m) in revenues, according to police reports.
During the raid, 21 gang members and 140 gamblers were detained by authorities, with one interesting detail to emerge being that more than 90% of the venue’s patrons were from well-educated, privileged backgrounds, and had completed advanced college degrees. A lengthy police investigation will now follow, and it is likely to be many months before those involved learn their punishments.
Over the past couple of years, China has been gripped by an anti-corruption campaign, as the country’s leaders seek to clamp down on bribery and power abuse, which it sees as a threat to the Communist Party’s survival. Macau’s gambling industry has suffered greatly as a result, with its revenues having now contracted for 19 straight months. In 2014, Macau’s gambling revenues declined by 2.6% to $44 billion, but in 2015 that decline accelerated by 34.3% to $28.93 billion. Looking ahead, CLSA head of gaming research, Aaron Fischer, said:
“2016 is not likely to be a very good year. However, after a 34 percent decline in 2015, consensus expects revenues to be roughly flat, which is a big improvement.”

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