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The police in the Hubei Province has exposed an illegal Chinese gambling site functioning as a poker club in secret.

Police reports tell us that the poker club targeted well-educated gamblers and was therefore recognized as an official but illegal gambling hub. Besides that, a considerable amount of illegal casino games was offered; according to the investigations.

Operation Worth $45 Million

In the first half of 2015 alone, police officers reported that they found over 300 million Yuan ($45 million) after detaining 21 of the members of the gang managing the illegal business, as well as casino employees and 140 gamblers on site.

Two VIP rooms and 17 gaming tables in total were housed by the club. In terms of registered members demographics, 90 percent held advanced degrees or were at University educated.

At the time of writing, the police is trying to unravel a major illicit operation which the club was the center of, and which was mainly boosted by patrons of privileged backgrounds.

Up to this point, Macau is the only jurisdiction in the country that is allowed to offer casino games, as in the mainland of China gambling still remains illegal. The mainland does have few regions that are allowed to offer games of skills, including poker.

China: Uncertain Status of Poker

Within the country a small number of organizations, of which the APPT is one, offers legal poker tournaments, thanks to the described dynamic earlier. The set-up of this offering of poker tournaments isn’t hassle free, as PokerStars found out in 2015.

The police managed to enter some of the APPT organized events and demanded that the tournaments must be shut down after which PokerStars was basically forced to a brief stop to its businesses; one of these APPT events was held back in April, in Nanjing,

“The conflicting nature of China’s feeling towards poker was highlighted by the incident. However, PokerStars didn’t receive any fines, and the issue was resolved in the course of time.”

The feelings towards poker can seemingly change spontaneously without any notice among some high ranking police or government officials, regardless of the fact that in many regions poker is seen as a game of skill.

In recent years, this dynamic contributed to the relatively smooth operation of poker clubs in numerous parts of China without any impactful interference of the authorities.

This could all change, as the Hubei Province police raid could have a major impact on the poker clubs as the authorities now discovered that illegal casinos were run behind the scenes of these clubs.

According to local sources, the further investigations of this case could last for many months.