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Chinese Police Uncovered $1.5 Billion in World Cup Bitcoin Gambling

China’s push to crackdown on online gambling has brought with it a number of arrests within the country. As the 2018 FIFA World Cup comes to a close, police forces in China foiled an illegal football gambling ring who only accept bitcoin as wagers.

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Police in China’s Guangdong province said Wednesday that they had arrested 540 people involved in the massive online football gambling which wagered a spectacular RMB10 billion (roughly $1.5 billion) worth bitcoins in total, according to Xinhua, a state-run media outlet.

Police noticed the illegal gambling gang in May, and the operation had been active for eight months, during which the gang has amassed 330,000 users in several countries and regions.

Subsequent investigation revealed that in order to circumvent regulations, the gang only accepted bitcoin and set their online gambling server offshore. The gambling was promoted via 70 gambling sites and mobile apps, as well as 250 online chat groups operated by them, which had since been shut down.

Police targeted six core members who oversaw more than 20 regional operations in southwest, central and southern China, froze assets of over 5 million yuan, and confiscated cryptocurrency worth over 10 million yuan.

Police warned that these unauthorized operators of such online football gambling can easily manipulate the odds according to gamblers’ stakes, that’s why the vast majority of gamblers are losing money.

It is the first major case in the country to use bitcoin in online football gambling. Busted during the World Cup Season, the case drew much attention in the country, especially after most gamblers lost much making wrong betting on the weird quarter-final games.

Another thing for sure is that bitcoin trading in China still thrives in secret ways though the country’s central bank recently reported that bitcoin trading in Chinese yuan had dropped below 1% of world total from 90% at its peak.

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