popular in Myanmar's drug country
virtual online casinos are open for business again, only this
time with a new media twist that allows casino owners to dodge
an official ban on their operations and Chinese gamblers to play
for even higher stakes without leaving their homes.
Welcome to the latest incarnation of Mong La, Myanmar's
low-grade rendition of Las Vegas and a recurring irritant in
Located in Myanmar's Special Region No 4, the jungle town
quickly emerged as a.
According to people familiar with the situation, China briefly
sent a small number of troops into the remote region to enforce
the travel ban and pressure online casinos operators to close
down their operations.
The militia leader in the area is now aggressively expanding his
enterprise into online casinos, a fast-growing
multibillion-US-dollar global industry that is just now catching
on in China.
This April, the leader presided over the opening of seven new
online casinos gambling facilities, specifically designed and
outfitted for online casinos China-based gamers. Another 14
online casinos gambling venues are being carved out of the
jungle about 16 kilometers southwest of Mong La, set idyllically
among paddy fields and wandering water buffalo.
In the casinos, black leather chairs sit around immaculate
baccarat tables. Suspended above the tables are cameras
connected to the Internet, which allow for scores of remote
Chinese gamblers to play their hands at online casinos.
Mong La's new casinos are a curious twist on Western-style
online casinos, which is conducted solely in cyberspace. From
the comfort of their homes in Beijing, Kunming or Shanghai,
Chinese gamblers watch the online casinos tables via a live
video feed over the Internet and place their bets through agents
on location at the jungle casinos. The arrangement, says the
casino operator, allows the online casinos players and online
casinos operators to circumvent recent Chinese efforts to
prevent the outflow of cash into Myanmar's black markets.
The transactions also entail a measure of trust. Net gambling
players inside China transfer funds into the casino operators'
China-based bank accounts. Once the transfer is confirmed, a
player logs on to the online casinos website and watches the
game from the cameras above the tables via high-speed Internet
while communicating with his agent via mobile phone. When the
hand is played out, the remote player can opt to have winnings
wired to his account or alternatively order the agent to get the
cash physically from the casino.
One of the casino operators who spoke with an Asian newspaper
claimed to be able to cover up to US$1 million in bets in this
fashion per day. New online casinos recently opened at nearby
Wan Hsieo, Mong Ma and the tract outside Mong La are able to
handle similar financial traffic, meaning total daily turnover
at Myanmar's online casinos could hit $20 million, depending, of
course, on how the cards are played. The operator said investors
in mainland China, Hong Kong and Thailand had contributed funds
to the new casinos.