Authorities in the Guangdong district of Southern China announced on July 12, 2018, an illegal gambling racket involving cryptocurrencies has been dismantled. As reported by South China Morning Post, local police made 540 arrests, confiscated digital currencies worth 10 million yuan ($1.5 million), and froze over 5 million yuan ($700,00) stashed in illegal bank accounts.

More than 20 independent gangs were allegedly involved in the criminal syndicate. Reports noted over 330,000 “members” were added to 250 distinct online chat groups and 70 mobile applications over the period of eight months, primarily to focus on FIFA World Cup 2018 matches, which concludes on July 15, 2018.

As stated, the accused operated solely on the dark web and conducted transactions using Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. The group lured gamblers with a massive network of 8,000 agents, who police note, were paid commissions for recruiting new “members,” creating a cryptocurrency pyramid scheme in effect.

While gambling was classified as an illegal activity under Chinese legislation in 1949, the Far East superpower is no stranger to the activity. The country’s gambling culture dates back to 960 A.D., and authorities have run state-backed “welfare games” and lotteries for centuries.

“Charity betting,” sponsored by China’s Sports Administration, is also allowed in the country. Interestingly, Chinese administrative regions Macau and Hong Kong have vibrant gambling industry, with the former referred to as “Vegas of the East.” China is also home to the world’s second-largest lottery. Read more from…

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