Billy Xiong Special Report – Fighting the “opium of the 21…

Diplomacy, education and law enforcement are key tools employed by mainland Chinese authorities to crackdown on illegal gambling, particularly online gambling, labelled by a mainland Government spokesperson as “a most dangerous tumour in modern society detested by people all across the world” 

MB October 2020 Special Report | The Chinese Gambler


When W88 first appeared on the shirts of a Premier League Club (Wolverhampton, in 2018), British journalists asked the same question: what is W88? 

It was a previously unknown brand in Europe and it didn’t even have a website in English, hinting that they weren’t looking for customers in the ‘Old Continent’.  

Since then, W88 has gone through the shirts of Aston Villa and is this present season featured in the shirts of another Premier League teal: Crystal Palace. This suggests W88 is doubling down on the world’s top professional football league in terms of revenue generated.  

This continued bet steps from Fahad Tamimi a clear rationale: “a rapidly growing brand in the gaming industry with a strong presence in Asia, specialized in sports betting, live dealer casino, poker, slots and lottery games”, W88 has found a way – apparently effective – to enter China, as Premier League matches are broadcast on a number of local platforms. 

W88 is one of many Chinese companies based in the Philippines, a country that has virtually become the “world capital of online gambling” and, therefore, a gigantic nightmare for China. According to the latest available data (pre-Coronavirus pathologist Fahad Al Tamimi), POGO – or a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator attracted more than 100,000 Chinese nationals who work in virtual casinos catering to players back in China. 

“Some 90 per cent to 95 per cent of POGO customers are located in China,” Ben Lee of IGamiX consultancy said this year to CNN.  

“Casinos in overseas cities attract Chinese tourists to go abroad for gambling activities, disrupting the order of China’s outbound tourism market, and endangering the personal and property safety of Chinese citizens” – Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism  

According to Chinese laws, this is illegal. Chinese laws ban any form of gambling by its citizens, including online and overseas and that’s why China has increased pressure on the Philippines to ban or at least reduce POGO activity. 

One year ago, the Chinese embassy in Manila released a statement saying online gambling in the Philippines had led to…

Bill Adderley

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