A new wave of gambling sites has developed in reaction to China’s strict restrictions regarding internet gambling, using cunning strategies to avoid regulatory attention. These websites—collectively referred to as “skin gambling” platforms—have skillfully skirted regulatory restrictions to provide consumers profitable betting options while staying inside the law.
Rise of Skin Gambling in China
Despite stringent laws prohibiting online betting, skin gambling—an online betting activity that uses virtual “skins” as currency—has become quite popular in China. These virtual skins, which were formerly intended to be changeable accessories for video game characters, have grown significantly in value and are now used as tokens for gambling on a number of internet sites.
The Chinese government has been taking aggressive measures against online gambling, especially when it comes to cash gambling sites, while skin gaming platforms have mainly escaped notice. But according to recent reports, Chinese officials are stepping up their attempts to crack down on these sites because they realize how difficult it is to enforce laws against online gambling.
Despite regulatory measures, the skin gambling industry persists, with operators adapting strategies to stay ahead of enforcement actions. Operators have demonstrated resilience, evolving their approaches to continue offering skin gambling opportunities within the legal gray areas.
A study conducted by Junqing Zhang at Kyushu University explored the operations of prominent Chinese skin gambling companies—VPgame, Max+, and C5game. These companies have adopted clever disguises, positioning themselves as legitimate entities within the realms of esports, gaming forums, and virtual item trading markets.
In order to avoid official monitoring, VPgame has effectively assimilated into China’s burgeoning esports market by providing esports-related services in addition to its skin gambling platform. Max+ functions as a forum for gamers, combining in-depth conversations about games with covert skin gambling. Operating as a virtual item trade market, C5game facilitates skin gambling through jackpot-style events and lets players purchase and sell game skins under the pretense of virtual asset trading.
Even with these clever masks working, it’s still unclear how big of a business skin gambling is in China. To fully comprehend the state of skin gambling websites and how they operate in the nation, more study is needed.
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