China Cracks Down Hard on Illegal Gambling by Employing Drones

April 25th, 2019 3.30pm

The days of illegal gambling in China seem to be coming to an end as Chinese authorities continue to use drones for illegal mobile casino detection. The project has so far proven to be highly successful – only last week, 35 individuals have been detained under suspicion of running an illegal gambling den (or tents, to be more precise), caught by the ever-watchful eye of a drone camera.

Anonymous Tip Leads to an Arrest

It might have been the human factor that led the investigators to the crime scene, but it was a drone that did the rest. Acting on a tip, the police officers positioned around the area and sent out the devices for closer inspection. The live video gave them all the information they could possibly need and minutes later, the police raided the scene arresting 35 perpetrators on the spot and chasing down 13 more suspects who tried to flee before a drone camera located them. It’s not known precisely which forms of gambling were taking place but given the popularity of blackjack in China it’s thought likely that this game was involved.

This was only one in the series of successful raids conducted with the help of the drones. In 2018, the police employed these handy devices in several missions that covered Guangxi, Guangdong, Fujian, and Hubei provinces. In July of the same year, more than 30 illegal gambling operators were brought to justice, and the police used the same tactics to put a stop to this type of “disruptive” behaviour during the Chinese New Year celebration.

Big Brother Is Always Watching…

To those who are concerned about the invasive nature of this technique, as well as possible human rights violation, suffice to say that the People’s Republic of China has a different concept of civil liberties.

According to Professor Adam Wandt (John Jay College of Criminal Justice), the fact that the Chinese authorities approved this controversial method is hardly surprising – drones have the capacity of monitoring vast areas and the efficiency of the method trumps any concerns of privacy invasion. Drones are growing increasingly smaller in size, which makes them virtually undetectable and extremely practical for sensitive missions. It was also predicted that drones will be utilized by police departments across the USA within no more than two years.

Drones in Privately Owned Casino Resorts

The government is not the only one to take advantage of the massive potential of drones. Large casino resorts use these devices to supervise the entire casino complex, including the parking lots and other areas of the venue, scanning for drugs, terrorists, etc.

Another benefit of drones is that it reduces the risk of casualties; as remotely operated devices, drones, unlike human lives, are expendable.

The Status Quo of China Gambling Scene

With the exception of Macau and Hong Kong where gambling is legal, the rest of the country is forced to resort to illicit gambling dens and unofficial lotteries (China Welfare and China Sports Lotteries operate legally).

Judging by the current state of affairs, the prospects of gambling legalization in mainland China are bleak. One of the reasons is the peril of gambling addiction, as well as the taboo surrounding gambling, which is often associated with prostitution and drugs. For the time being, the official attitude of the government towards gambling is traditional, and it remains to be seen if the future will bring a change of climate.

Technology in Service of Humanity

Using technological advancement to prevent unwanted gambling-related behaviour is not isolated. Japanese officials have recently proposed a futuristic measure of introducing facial recognition systems inside the pachinko and other gambling venues. The installation of the authentication devices should be completed by 2021 and the images of those suffering from addiction will be provided by the affected individuals or their family members.



Drone, Outside Its Office Hours


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