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Time for harder measures
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Large-scale gambling may pose a great threat to a nation's economy. It is time we came down harder on the practice, says an article in Guangzhou Daily. Excerpts:

As the economy slips into a recession, there is a boom in gambling. Since last year, China has cracked down on a number of gambling cases, many of them involving big bucks.

For example, the police in Xianning, Hubei Province, busted a gambling racket worth 50 billion yuan, which is said to be the largest such operation since the founding of New China.

Gambling doesn't create wealth; it only makes money flow from losers to winners.

Most people believe that the harm gambling does is limited to the family and social fabric. Few think that gambling can be a drag on the economy.

A little research on gambling shows that today it has become an industry based on state-of-the-art technology.

In the Xianning case, gamblers used foreign websites, without going abroad and moved money fast through the Internet. The head of a State-owned enterprise involved in the case, used the corporate account to gamble and lost 400 million yuan. The enterprise went bankrupt.

Ordinary people can't afford gambling on this scale, which is possible only for those with political or business clout. When such heavyweights are into gambling, it poses a threat to not only their families and work but the economy, too.

It was noted that most of the money gambled away flows to foreign countries. Some neighboring countries legalized gambling, partly or fully, probably with an eye on attracting big shot Chinese gamblers. Therefore, to cut the losses of domestic capital, some called for legalization of gambling in.

That is hardly a solution, as money would anyway be lost to the economy. The answer is to come down hard on gambling and gamblers.

(China Daily June 19, 2009)

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