first_img Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham forced to cut sponsorship ties with Russian betting site Casinos can innovate – and win new fans Chinese authorities have cracked an illegal cryptocurrency World Cup gambling syndicate worth more than US$1.5 billion in what is believed to be the first major instance of a cryptocurrency sports betting crime in China.The Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department released a statement late last week announcing that police had arrested six people suspected of running the syndicate, which operated on the dark web and attracted around 330,000 users. All bets were placed using digital currencies. Load More Hong Kong Jockey Club breaks betting turnover record in 2018-19 RelatedPosts According to the statement, around 5 million yuan in cash and 10 million yuan in cryptocurrencies have been seized.Discovery of the cryptocurrency ring formed part of a broader operation by Chinese police against illegal World Cup betting, with the Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department revealing it has arrested more than 540 people suspected of being involved in online gambling rings, shut down more than 70 gambling apps and websites and seized more than 260 million yuan in funds during the Russia World Cup.Police said they had organized a series of 21 raids in locations such as Guangdong, Guangxi and Sichuan as part of a coordinated operation.“The online gambling crime gangs were closely organized, with a mostly pyramid-style organizational structure, recruiting agents at various levels, developing members at various levels and profiting from the middle members’ betting amount,” police explained.The websites also utilized familiar casino names such as “Crown” and “New Lisboa” to attract customers.Only last week Chinese social media giant Tencent announced that it had shut down 50,000 accounts on its hugely popular WeChat app for involvement in illegal gambling activities.However, Guangdong police described the discovery of the cryptocurrency ring as unique due to it being “the first case of using bitcoin for online gambling” and “the most representative of new online gambling cases.”last_img