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GTI Global Network > Current Issue > New Laws
New Laws
The opinions of the Supreme People’s Court, Supreme People’s Procuratorate, and Ministry of Public Security on some issues concerning the application of law in cases involving the use of gambling machines to operate gambling houses

The game (amusement) industry in China has seen new changes and developments recently since the “Best” electronic game scandal occurred more than two years ago and caused ripples across the industry.  Below is the announcement made by the Supreme People’s Court, Supreme People’s Procuratorate and Ministry of Public Security of China on March 26, 2014, which provides a more clearly defined guideline for the determination of gambling machines and gambling crimes.

The higher people’s courts in all provinces, autonomous regions and direct-controlled municipalities, the people’s procuratorates, public security departments and bureaus, the Military Court of the People’s Liberation Army and the Military Procuratorate, the Production and Construction Corps Branch of the Higher People’s Court in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and the People’s Procuratorate and the Public Security Bureau of Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps:

To punish the criminal activities that utilize electronic game facilities and equipment with gambling functions to operate gambling houses according to law, we hereby, on the basis of relevant regulations such as “the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China” and “the Interpretation of the Supreme People’s Court and Supreme People’s Procuratorate on Some Issues Concerning the Specific Application of Law in the Handling of Gambling Criminal Cases” and by combining judicial practice, put forward the following opinions on some issues concerning the application of law in the handling of cases of this type:

I. Concerning the determination of the nature of using gambling machines to organize gambling

Organizing gambling activities (hereinafter referred to as operating gambling machines) by operating electronic game facilities and equipment with gambling functions such as coin dispensing, credit key-out and metal ball dispensing, and by using valuable items like cash and marketable securities as prizes or giving others valuable items like cash and marketable securities through buying back prizes shall be deemed as the act of “operating gambling houses” stipulated in Paragraph 2 of Article 303 of the Criminal Law.

II. Concerning the conviction and penalty standards for using gambling machines to operate gambling houses

Those that operate gambling machines to organize gambling activities and fall under any of the following circumstances shall be convicted and punished in accordance with the crime of operating gambling houses stipulated in Paragraph 2 of Article 303 of the Criminal Law:

(I) Operating more than 10 gambling machines;
(II) Operating more than 2 gambling machines and accepting minors to gamble;
(III) Operating more than 2 gambling machines in the neighborhood of a high school or elementary school;
(IV) The accumulated total of illegal gains has reached over RMB$5,000;
(V) The accumulated total of wagers has reached over RMB$50,000;
(VI) The accumulated total of people participating in gambling has reached more than 20;
(VII) Operating more than 5 gambling machines again within two years of receiving an administrative penalty because of operating gambling machines;
(VIII) Operating more than 5 gambling machines again within five years of receiving a criminal penalty because of the crime of gambling and operating gambling houses;
(IX) There are other circumstances that shall be investigated for criminal responsibility.

Those that operate gambling machines to organize gambling activities and fall under any of the following circumstances shall be deemed as a “serious case” as stipulated in Paragraph 2 of Article 303 of the Criminal Law:
 
(I) The quantity or the amount has reached more than six times the standards stipulated in Subparagraphs 1 to 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 2;
(II) Operating more than 30 gambling machines again within two years of receiving an administrative penalty because of operating gambling machines;
(III) Operating more than 30 gambling machines again within five years of receiving a criminal penalty because of the crime of gambling and operating gambling houses;
(IV) There are other serious circumstances.

Regarding the gambling machines for multiple people to use at the same time, the number of machines is determined in accordance with the quantity of basic units, each of which can independently let one person engage in gambling activity operation.

Regarding operating gambling machines at more than two locations, the quantity of gambling machines, the amount of illegal gains and wagers, and the number of people participating in gambling all shall be calculated on a consolidated basis.

III. Concerning the determination of accomplices

Those that are clearly aware of others using gambling machines to operate gambling houses and fall under any of the following circumstances shall be handled and punished as an accomplice to the crime of operating gambling houses:

(I) Providing gambling machines, funds, sites, technical support or service of settling funds;
(II) Being hired to participate in gambling house operation and management and receiving a percentage of profits;
(III) Organizing customer sources for gambling house operators and receiving rebates and handling charges;
(IV) Participating in gambling house management and getting high fixed salaries;
(V) Providing other assistance directly.

IV. Concerning the conviction and punishment standards for the production and sale of gambling machines

Those that violate the nation’s regulations to illegally produce and sell electronic game facilities and equipment with gambling functions such as coin dispensing, credit key-out or metal ball dispensing or related software for the purpose of providing them to others to operate gambling houses, if the circumstances are serious, shall be convicted of and punished for the crime of illegal business operations in accordance with the rules of Article 225 of the Criminal Law.

Carrying out the acts stipulated in the previous paragraph under any of the following circumstances belongs to “serious cases” of illegal business acts:

(I) The amount of the individual’s illegal business volume is more than RMB$50,000 or the amount of illegal gains is more than RMB$10,000;
(II) The amount of the entity’s illegal business volume is more than RMB$500,000 or the amount of illegal gains is more than RMB$100,000;
(III) Although the aforesaid quantitative standards have not been reached, the individual or entity has already received two or more administrative penalties within the last two years because of the act of illegally producing and selling gambling machines and has again engaged in the same type of illegal business act;
(IV) There are other serious circumstances.

If it contains any of the following circumstances, it belongs to “especially serious cases” of illegal business acts;
(I) The amount of the individual’s illegal business volume is more than RMB$250,000 or the amount of illegal gains is more than RMB$50,000;
(II) The amount of the entity’s illegal business volume is more than RMB$2.5 million or the amount of illegal gains is more than RMB$500,000.

V. Concerning the determination of wagers

The wagers mentioned in these Opinions include: (I) the money and objects used in gambling that are seized on the spot; (II) the actual amount of money represented by tokens, marketable securities and accumulated gambling credits; (III) the actual amount of money represented by the points wagered or won on a gambling machine.

VI. Concerning the determination of gambling machines

Regarding gambling machines involved, public security organs should adopt photo shooting, photographing and other methods to recover evidence in time and confirm the gambling machines.  Regarding those that are difficult to confirm whether they belong to gambling machines, judicial organs may authorize public security organs above the prefecture level to issue an inspection report.  Judicial organs shall make their confirmation based on the inspection report and by combining the specific circumstances of the case.  If it is necessary, people’s courts may notify the inspection personnel to appear in court to provide explanation in accordance with law.

VII. Concerning adherence to criminal policy of tempering strict punishment with mercy

For handling the cases of using gambling machines to operate gambling houses, the criminal policy of tempering strict punishment with mercy shall be carried out to lay special stress on cracking down on gambling house investors and operators.  Regarding the personnel hired by gambling houses to engage in activities such as picking up gambling participants, keeping watch over gambling houses, dealing cards, being in charge of the bank and changing chips, except those who receive a percentage of gambling houses’ profits or get high fixed salaries, generally will not be investigated for criminal responsibility and can be given an administrative penalty for public security by public security organs in accordance with law.  The entertainment activities that involve the operation of game machines and the exchange of a small quantity of prizes at a time will not be handled and punished as an offence or crime.

Concerning the handling of dereliction of duty by employees in state organs

If the employees in state organs who are responsible for investigating and prohibiting gambling activities bend the law to suit their considerations for favoritism, harbor and give free rein to illegal criminal activities of operating gambling houses, or tip off law-violating criminals, provide convenience to criminals and help criminals escape punishment, and their actions constitute a crime, they shall be investigated for criminal responsibility.

Those employees in state organs that engage in the use of gambling machines to operate gambling houses and hence commit a criminal offense shall be given a harsher punishment.
                                 
The Supreme People’s Court
The Supreme People’s Procuratorate
The Ministry of Public Security
March 26, 2014

※The article is published in the GTI Magazine Issue No. 126 in June, 2014.

 
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