China almost completely bans online gambling for teens

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The People’s Republic of China almost completely bans online gambling for anyone under the age of 18. Since September 1, minors are only allowed to play on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, and even that only between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Previously, one and a half hours a day and three hours on public holidays were allowed.

According to official information is supposed to be the ban Protect “the physical and mental health of minors”. It is associated with a strict registration obligation. Online games without prior user registration under real names have been illegal under dictatorship since 2019. Payments can only be made through certain interfaces specified by the state.

Had earlier this month Daily economic information, a newspaper for China’s state-run news agency, demonized online gaming and called for tighter regulations. In the article, computer games were described as harmful to children’s development. These are “opium for the spirit” and “electronic drugs”. The article was withdrawn, but state regulators seized the hint of the fence post.

Tencent, one of the largest game publishers and technology companies in China, announced new rules after the article appeared. Its games should only be allowed one hour per working day and two hours on weekends and holidays, game purchases should only be open to players aged twelve and over. But this attempt at self-regulation did not help.

The diktats of the National Press and Publications Authority are even more severe. To the detail of the “responsible person” of authority is the arrangement “guided by Xi Jinping’s ideas on Chinese-style socialism in the new era.” The person announced that the authority would step up checks on all gaming companies and show no tolerance.

South Korea has banned online games for children under 16 at night for ten years. But now, South Korea’s ban on nighttime online gambling has been lifted. As in the People’s Republic, the ban was aimed at preventing children from becoming addicted to games. However, young people have switched to alternative gaming accounts, for example those of their parents. The ban has proven ineffective in South Korea.

The Chinese authority is therefore planning a propaganda campaign to “actively guide families, schools and other social sectors.” The whole country is supposed to prevent young people from playing online games, with the authority particularly making teachers accountable. They should notice and report when children are using someone else’s accounts.


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