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GTI Global Network > Current Issue > New Laws
New Laws
The Circular on Further Strengthening the Supervision of Game and Amusement Venues and Promoting the Industry’s Healthy Development
The Circular on Further Strengthening the Supervision of Game and Amusement Venues and Promoting the Industry’s Healthy Development
In 2000, the State Council of China forwarded the “Notice of the Opinions on Launching a Special Campaign to Rectify Electronic Game Business Venues” and Article 2 of the “Notice” clearly specified that all localities should immediately stop examining and approving new electronic game business venues. The double pressures, including the “high strain” from the unexpected policy and the “squeezing pressure” from the computer and internet market have made the once popular game halls quickly decline and gradually vanish from sight. On September 16, 2015 the Ministries of Culture and Public Security jointly issued the “Circular on Further Strengthening the Supervision of Game and Amusement Venues and Promoting the Industry’s Healthy Development”, which not only removes the administrative provisions on the plan for total quantity and deployment of game and amusement venues, but also gives local governments the right to establish unified local identification criteria and measurement standards for the locations of establishing game and amusement venues. Below is the full text of the “Circular” for our readers' reference.
 
No. 16 (2015) of the Ministry of Culture
To the Culture Departments (Bureaus) of all provinces, autonomous regions and direct-controlled municipalities, the Culture, Radio and Television Bureau of Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, and the Cultural Market (General) Administrative Law Enforcement Brigades of the Tibet Autonomous Region, Beijing, Tianjin and Chongqing:
To carry out the spirit of “Several Opinions of the State Council on Promoting Fair Market Competition and Maintaining the Normal Market Order”, improve and regulate the entry and exit mechanism for the game and amusement industry, resolutely combat legal violations and criminal activities including the use of game machines for gambling, promote a healthy and orderly development of the game and amusement industry and ensure a healthy culture and entertainment environment for the public, the relevant issues are hereby notified as follows:
 
I. Regulate the work of examining and approving game and amusement venues in accordance with the laws.
Based on the provisions of the “Circular of the State Council on Issuing the Plan for Reforming the Registration System for Registered Capital” and the “the Decision of the State Council on Matters Concerning Canceling and Adjusting a Group of Administrative Examination and Approval Projects”,getting a license first before getting a permit is implemented for the game and amusement venue entry.Cultural administrative departments at the county level shall check materials such as business license and site ownership certificate when accepting an application from game and amusement venues for engaging in game and amusement business activities, and shall make the decision of approving or disapproving the application within the prescribed period of time after conducting procedures such as field inspection, public announcement and hearings. For those that have been approved, entertainment operating permits shall be issued and the applicants shall be notified to file records with public security organizations at the prefecture and county levels in the localities within 15 days; for those that have been disapproved, the applicants shall be notified in writing with the reasons stated. The administrative provisions regarding the plan for total quantity and deployment of game and amusement venues are removed, and administrative departments of culture at the provincial level may use the requirements stipulated in the “Regulation for the Administration of Entertainment Venues” as the basis, combine the real situation of the localities and comply with the principles of facilitating the entry of market entities and protecting the rights and interests of minors so as to establish unified local identification criteria and measurement standards for the locations of establishing game and amusement venues. Upon the acceptance of applications for examination and approval, administrative departments of culture shall conduct a field inspection on the locations of establishing business venues in accordance with the unified measurement standards of the localities, shall examine whether the venues comply with the establishment provisions regarding surrounding environment and the distance from elementary and high schools, and shall issue written opinions. Administrative departments of culture at all levels shall be strictly forbidden from increasing administrative licensing requirements and procedures without authorization and shall be strictly regulated in their acts of examination and approval.
 
II. Strengthen the regulation, supervision, facilitation and assurance of the legal operation of game and amusement venues.
Administrative departments of culture and public security organizations should fulfill responsibilities seriously, administer in accordance with the laws, further strengthen ongoing and ex-post regulation and guide game and amusement venues toward legal and healthy operation. They shall improve the routine check mechanism and the random inspection mechanism, adopt full-scale and real-time supervision, guide, supervise and prompt business entities towards legal operation, and prevent, suppress, investigate and punish business entities for illegal operation, legal violations and criminal activities. They shall strengthen venues’ construction of technical safety and security facilities and actively promote the work of information technology adoption for venue supervision. They shall strengthen the main responsibilities of game and amusement venues, have venues sign the “letter of commitment to legal operation”, which shall clearly define the legal representative and actual operator to be the first responsible person, clarify responsibilities of departments and be placed in an obvious place at venues to ensure that the responsibilities will be carried out. They shall actively explore and establish the "blacklist" supervision mechanism, restrict or prohibit those on the "blacklist" from entering venues, and form the "one violation somewhere, leading to restrictions everywhere" joint disciplinary mechanism. Departments of culture and public security at all levels shall strictly follow the statutory duties, enlarge the scope of investigation of unlicensed venues, expand the sources of leads and crack down on game and amusement venues operating without a permit in accordance with the laws; shall strictly prohibit venues from using one permit for multiple purposes, using a permit which is inconsistent with the license and using a permit which is inconsistent with the address; and shall firmly rectify and clean up those venues having the above-mentioned problems. They shall practically ensure that game and amusement venues assume legal and normal operation, shall put an end to the "one size fits all" type of correction, shall launch no rectification campaigns featuring sports-style, non-specific industry-wide business suspension for correction, and for game and amusement venues that are investigated, punished, shut down or suspended, shall have corroborated facts, irrefutable evidence and a legal basis for punishment. Without legal authorization, they shall not take the liberty of stopping the acceptance of applications for new venue examination and approval.
 
III. Firmly prohibit game and amusement venues from engaging in gambling activities. Public security organizations at all levels shall strictly perform their duties in accordance with the laws and strictly crack down on illegal gambling and criminal activities in game and amusement venues. Except for dedicated game tokens, redemption tickets and the cumulative points that can be used to continue playing during the game process, game and amusement venues are banned from installing game facilities and equipment with gambling functions such as coin dispensing, credit output and metal ball dispensing (hereinafter referred to as gambling machines). The gambling machines installed in game and amusement venues shall all be collected and destroyed in accordance with the laws. Game and amusement venues are prohibited from using valuable objects including cash and securities as prizes or utilize the approach of purchasing back prizes to give others valuable objects such as cash and securities. Those that have any of the above-mentioned circumstances shall be investigated and punished based on the gambling activities organized in accordance with the laws, and for those that are suspected of a crime, a case shall be filed for investigation and criminal responsibility shall be investigated and affixed.Those entertainment activities that are conducted in game and amusement venues and involve low-value prizes shall not be treated as gambling. Prizes should be healthy and beneficial, and specific standards on the value of prizes should be established by culture departments and public security organizations at the provincial level based on the levels of local economic development.
 
IV. Give full play to the functions of industry associations.
Administrative departments of culture and public security organizations at all levels shall strengthen the guidance and cultivation of industry associations, actively transform association functions based on scientific assessment and designate the functions which are suitable for industry organizations to self-regulate and manage to industry associations. Industry associations should duly perform the roles of “bridge” and “link” between the industry and culture and public security departments in charge of the administration of the industry, actively participate in and organize the training of employees working at venues and raise law-abiding awareness of employees; actively collect clues about gambling-involved violations of laws and regulations, and promptly provide the clues to the administrative departments in charge of the industry to conduct investigation and punishment in accordance with the laws; actively cooperate with the administrative departments to launch anti-gambling dissemination, and utilize association websites and public platforms like Weibo and Weixin to disseminate national policies and regulations, announce the administrative information of the government and publicize names of regulation-violating enterprises and products as well as illegal events, The China Culture & Entertainment Industry Association (CCEA) should guide industry associations at all levels and business entities of game and amusement venues to perform industry self-regulation through the establishment of industry standards and regulations.
 
Administrative departments of culture and public security organizations at all levels shall strengthen the guidance and cultivation of industry associations, actively transform association functions based on scientific assessment and designate the functions which are suitable for industry organizations to self-regulate and manage to industry associations. Industry associations should duly perform the roles of “bridge” and “link” between the industry and culture and public security departments in charge of the administration of the industry, actively participate in and organize the training of employees working at venues and raise law-abiding awareness of employees; actively collect clues about gambling-involved violations of laws and regulations, and promptly provide the clues to the administrative departments in charge of the industry to conduct investigation and punishment in accordance with the laws; actively cooperate with the administrative departments to launch anti-gambling dissemination, and utilize association websites and public platforms like Weibo and Weixin to disseminate national policies and regulations, announce the administrative information of the government and publicize names of regulation-violating enterprises and products as well as illegal events, The China Culture & Entertainment Industry Association (CCEA) should guide industry associations at all levels and business entities of game and amusement venues to perform industry self-regulation through the establishment of industry standards and regulations.
The Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Public Security September 16, 2015
 
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