China-Myanmar Border Area Is a Gambling Wild West

  • Mongla is on the Myanmar-China border
  • It is a hotbed for gambling, prostitution and illegal trading of wildlife
  • Many Chinese visit Mongla, where they can speak Mandarin and use Chinese currency
  • The gambling hubs are constantly expanding to keep up with demand
Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar
An area in Myanmar that borders China is a hub for gambling, prostitution, and the illegal trading of wildlife.

Details About the Area

Mongla is a region near the border between Myanmar and China. It has become popular recently because of its many gambling options. It has also been also a hotbed for drugs and prostitution since the 1990s.

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, borders southwestern China. Frequent visitors cross the border from China. Gambling is illegal in China, except for the island of Macau, which is the number one gambling destination in the world.

Many illegal activities take place just inside the Myanmar border. One of the more popular pursuits these days is trading wildlife illegally and the gambling trade attracts many tourists.

While Mongla is part of Myanmar, it generally follows a lot of Chinese laws and customers. The area is somewhat isolated from the rest of Myanmar by a mountain range. This isolation breeds various types of illegal activities.

The most common language in the region is Mandarin and the Chinese currency of Yuan is the most popular means of exchange. Even the phone networks use Chinese phone networks rather than those based in Myanmar.

Therefore, it is an ideal place for Chinese visitors because they can speak the language and use the same currency. The main hub of criminal activities is in the north of Mongla in Panghsang. Generally, this is a free-for-all area where the national authorities do little to deter it.

What Does the Gambling Sector Look Like?

The gambling sector in Mongla attracts all types of visitors. There is also a heavy focus on prostitution, which also attracts different sorts of people. Online gambling is also available.

Two casinos, the Diamond International and the Venetian Casino, are the main attractions. They largely focus on entertaining their VIPs, while using tough security to keep visitors in check.

The area is like a constant construction site because of expansion to try the demand from the large influx of visitors.

Some of the top accommodations command as much as $600 (£460) per night. Naturally, a lot of VIPs will have their accommodation paid by the casino in order to secure their business.

The casinos were shut down in 2005 because the Chinese government complained. These closures lasted for about a year.

Going Gambling Mad

Asia as a whole has seen a large increase in gambling operations in recent years. Gambling is very popular on the continent, but for many years there were not many places where people could gamble legally.

In 2016, Japan made casinos legal and resort casinos were legalized two years later. Vietnam is now expanding its gambling laws and Macau continues to thrive.

Cambodia has seen an explosion in the popularity of its casino industry and Singapore has become one of the world’s leading destinations for gambling. 

As these destinations regulate more and gambling laws expand, there will be fewer instances of illegal gambling operations cropping up. This is a major source of revenue for criminal enterprises in the region, so they will no doubt do all they can to resist any further gambling expansion.