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China Announces New Gaming Regulations

23 April, 2019

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China passed new guidelines that would ban licenses for poker and Mahjong games. China’s State Administration of Press and Publication announced on April 10th a cap that would limit the number of games that would be licensed per year. While the news does not come as a shock to developers, avid gamers are not happy.



In February, Reuters reported that China had resumed the gaming approval process. All developers are required to submit requests for licenses for their games. Once the submissions are received, the State Administration of Press and Publication will decide which games qualify for a license. Unfortunately, many of the applications received will not make it past the approval process. In fact, most will be denied because they are deemed ineligible.

Nationwide Crackdown

Chinese politicians do not agree on every policy. However, many do agree that certain genres of games encourage illegal gambling. The crackdown is a nationwide effort to discourage illegal gambling. Poker and Mahjong games are extremely popular among developers because they can be created with very little funding. Another reason developers choose to make these games is that they are extremely popular.

Who Will Be Impacted

The new guidelines will not impact all game developers. It is believed that small developers that focus on poker and Mahjong genres will be impacted the most. Developers that have multiple licenses will be impacted very little because the rules only apply to new applicants. Fans of real money pokies online have nothing to fear. The website will continue operating as usual. So, players can access their favorite poker games 24/7 without restrictions.

Other Restrictions

Along with poker and Mahjong, games that are inspired by China’s imperial past will also be denied a license. Chinese officials agree that such games have a political metaphor risk. Many of these games have obscene content that encourages risky behavior.

Other games were banned include those that contain graphic images, such as bloody scenes and dead corpses. These games are extremely popular in China, especially among teenagers and young adults. Fortunately, older games that contain graphic images will not be removed from the market.

Switching It Up A Bit

In the past, developers found ways around the gaming restrictions. They went so far as to disguise blood in their games by utilizing color variations. Instead of bright red blood, they make it green or some other color. While this worked in the past, games with bloody graphics will no longer be accepted for license approval. This rule will definitely have an impact on how some developers create their games.

What Will Small Developers Do?

The renewed guidelines will have the biggest impact on small developers. These developers have limited resources and developing capabilities. Some of the small developers may not be able to remain in business because the risks are too high. It will really depend on how well these developers are able to counter the new guidelines. One developer has already taken the steps to implement a system that would fight addiction. It may be that this will become part of the new norm for all game developers.

More Expenses

Chinese consumers may very well see a future increase in games. While developers try to keep their games affordable, they may be left without options. The new regulations are expected to increase the cost of making new games. Additional expenses will increase shelf prices. This is unfortunate for avid gamers with strict budgets. It is unclear if Chinese consumers will be willing to shell out the extra money for games that do not contain content that they are interested in.


Chinese politicians hope the new guidelines will help deter addiction and risky behavior. While many gamers and developers are not happy, the gaming industry is expected to survive. Gamers can still access licensed games with the now banned content. So, it is possible that those games will gain some popularity throughout the year. Developers that focus on gambling and other risky genres will not survive unless they make some changes. The video game industry is constantly changing. This is a big controversial move by Chinese officials. Therefore, there is a real possibility that these new regulations could be done away with in the near future.

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