The centre specifically focuses on treating online gambling addicts, as crimes related to online gambling in Chinese societies have sky-rocketed
In 1994, Gambling along with other activities considered a vice were outlawed in mainland China when Communist Party took over but have returned through offshore websites and apps.
In the recent past, China has taken numerous steps to combat illegal gambling and overseas gambling. Chinese nationals have become bankrupt due to gambling addiction via online Apps. Crimes related to gambling in Chinese society have sky-rocketed.
Seeing this unsteady situation, China has decided to take this step and set up the country’s first rehabilitation centre specifically to treat gambling addicts and to save them from the trap of online gambling.
The centre is located in Shanghai and is dedicated to treating gamblers both educationally - on how gambling is arranged to ensure that “the house always wins”, and psychologically - promoting healthy routines to keep one’s mind off gambling. Participants are given basic phones with no internet access to prevent them from placing bets.
Si Guoqi, a former hair salon owner and self-proclaimed gambling expert who has been helping addicts for years, now operates a Shanghai rehabilitation centre.
Up to 50 people are enrolling in the centre’s programme per month and Si says he has helped thousands of people over the past dozen years, with many of the participantsbeing tech-savvy teens.
Si’s own family was nearly torn apart by his wife’s compulsive gambling at the Chinese game mahjong, and he used to sell mahjong equipment. He calls online gambling a virus. “If it activates your greed, you can’t get away,” Si said.
Si estimates that 70% of operators set up servers in the Philippines, offering everything related to online gambling from baccarat to blackjack to sports betting. According to state media, In the first half of 2020, Chinese police arrested more than 250 cross-border gambling cases, arresting more than 11,500 suspects.
State news agency Xinhua reported on August 26, the central government is even planning to impose restrictions on Chinese citizens travelling to overseas tourist destinations where gambling is rife.
SiGMA Group Americas Digital Summit is running from the 22nd to 24th September, bringing well-known faces from the Latin American gaming and tech sector to a series of in-depth debate panels, with content offered in Spanish, Portuguese, and English.
The 7th edition of SiGMA Europe will move its November event to February 16th to 18th 2021.