Chinese online stars targeted for illegal gambling

China warns livestreaming stars.

Credits: Philip Jägenstedt.

Some Chinese livestream hosts have allegedly been conducting illegal gambling activities within their live online broadcasts.

China.- The Chinese livestream massive community has turned government’s attention to undercover gambling activity that some online stars have been hosting. There are currenty over 312 million live-streaming platform users in the country, according to a report by iiMedia Research, and there has been some questionable contests -in the eyes of the authorities- that use virtual gifts to avoid betting with money.

Virtual gifts are a common way of interaction between livestream hosts and their fan base. China Daily reports that, taking that in consideration, online platform Xingqiu has been conducting guessing competitions in which viewers send gifts to submit their guess and winners are also paid in that way. Therefore, with no money going either way, organisers apparently say that they’re not breaking China’s ban on both online and land-based gambling.

However, there are reports of an “underground chain” that hosts use in order to redeem virtual gifts submitted at those contests for real cash and then send to the winning participants. The process resembles that of Japanese pachinko parlors, where users collect little silver balls as winnings and then exchange them for money at associated vendors.

The China Daily report quotes the local media outlet Beijing News that says the organisers “have obviously committed a crime” and urges the judiciary to “take an interest in the broadcasts.” “Certain government departments must be given power and responsibility to better supervise these platforms to end the chaos in the live broadcast market,” they added.