The past month has seen a firestorm of activity related to illegal online gambling rings in Asia, thanks in no small part to the running of theFIFA World Cup, which was ultimately won by Germany. Earlier this week, the security chief for FIFA, Chris Eaton, declared that major illegal gambling rings are operating in both Macau and mainland China, in vast numbers, and that they threaten the integrity of sporting events.
The problem is a profound one in Asia due to the fact that there are no regulated online casinos or sportsbooks in most Asian countries. In China, where gambling of any kind is illegal in much of the country and has been since the current regime came to power in 1949, major busts of online gambling rings have been common place throughout that history. In the past month alone, more than 50 people were arrested in China for operating illegal online casinos. People involved in online gambling have also been arrested in Vietnam and the Philippines within the last month alone, while 8 people were from Asia were arrested while in on Las Vegas for running a World Cup betting ring.
The problem in Asia highlights one very notable benefit of having regulated gambling both in the real world and online: people no longer need to seek it out through an illegal source which is all too likely also connected to all manner of other illegal activities; prostitution, the drug trade, etc. Aside from cutting off some of the underworlds cash flow, licensed online casinos and gambling further protect the players engaged in them by ensuring that their money is safe at all times, and that any of their winnings will be paid out to them. Even in countries who have a general distaste for gambling, the evidence points to the fact that it would be wiser to choose the lesser of two evils and make online gambling legal within their borders.