China has solved its youth gambling problem, the top industry body claims

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China has solved the problem of gambling addiction among its youth, according to a report co-authored by the country’s leading gambling industry association, in comments likely to be welcomed by the regulation-stricken sector. The comment comes from a report by the China Game Industry Group Committee, which is linked to the regulator of online games, the China Game Industry Research Institute and data provider CNG, CNG announced on its official WeChat account on Tuesday.

Chinese regulators stepped in in September last year with new rules banning anyone under the age of 18 from playing video games for more than three hours a week, a strict social intervention they said was needed to stem a growing addiction pulling the plug on what she had described as “spiritual opium”.

A month later, Chinese state media said loopholes allowing minors to circumvent new rules aimed at reducing gaming time to three hours a week should be removed to “prevent addiction”.

“Some online trading platforms have shops for renting and selling game accounts, users can bypass surveillance by renting and buying accounts and playing online games without restrictions. This means there are still loopholes for teenagers to participate in online games, which is worthy of attention,” the Communist Party’s official People’s Daily said in a comment at the time.

The move came as part of a broader regulatory crackdown on China’s tech sector, and was seen as an attempt to also tighten controls over the gaming industry, which was hit by a protracted title approval freeze soon after.

CNG said the report found that more than 75 percent of young gamers now play games for less than 3 hours a week, and praised Chinese game companies for achieving “remarkable results” after putting systems in place to curb gambling addiction.

It cited efforts by Tencent Holdings, NetEase, and Perfect World, among others.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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