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China puts 20 in jail for running online sports betting site

 In what appears to be the biggest online gambling heist in China, a Shanghai court has sentenced 20 people for running an illegal online sports betting website, it was reported today. The leaders of the illegal sports betting enterprise, Qian Baochun, got the thicker end of the stick with the biggest sentence - 6 years in jail plus fines for creating the online gambling website. His nineteen accomplices received smaller jail sentences. According to Chinese authorities, the gambling website, which offered online betting on European football matches, was created in time for the 2006 World Cup and has generated over $1 billion in bets since.

 Gambling in any form is illegal in mainland China, with the exception of the state-run lottery-style sports betting, which also offers betting on football games. Meanwhile the enclave of Macau, which is part of China, has become the world's largest gambling destination. China is also considering allowing some form of betting on horse racing, although the possibility of full-fledged horse racing betting is years away.

 Published on 02/16/2009

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