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Gambler Faces Charges for Betting on Taiwan Election via Crypto Site

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A man in Taiwan has found himself in hot water after allegedly using a crypto betting site to place wagers on this year’s elections. Prosecutors from the Shilin District Prosecutor’s Office disclosed that a man, identified only by his surname “Chen,” utilized the Polymarket platform to bet on the election outcomes which concluded on June 13.

Prosecutors detailed that Chen had staked around 472 USD Coin on Ko Wen-je, the candidate from the Taiwan People’s Party, to win the presidential elections. Additionally, Chen placed a separate bet of 60 USD on the Democratic Progressive Party securing more legislative seats.

The investigation revealed that Chen’s actions violated the President and Vice President Election Recall Act, specifically regarding the prohibition on using web platforms for gambling on election results, an act forbidden by Taiwanese law.

Chen, acknowledging his wrongdoing, pleaded guilty and was subsequently granted deferred prosecution. Since he had no prior convictions, Chen was allowed to defer prosecution for one year and was fined 30,000 yuan (approximately $4,000).

Authorities in Taiwan have issued warnings to Polymarket users, emphasizing that betting on elections is against the law and violators could face severe consequences. According to local reports, individuals who engage in such activities risk penalties including six months in prison, detention, or fines exceeding $3,000.

Last year, an investigation implicated several citizens in crypto betting related to election results. At the beginning of 2024, numerous people across the country were investigated for allegedly placing illegal wagers on the January 13 presidential and legislative elections. Prosecutors conducted raids on five locations in New Taipei, seizing around NT$16.13 million ($519,117) in cash, according to the New Taipei District Prosecutors Office.

Polymarket, the crypto betting platform at the center of this controversy, has previously faced regulatory hurdles. In 2022, the platform encountered significant challenges in the United States, leading to a $1.4 million fine imposed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The CFTC ordered Polymarket to shut down markets that did not comply with its regulations and those of the Commodity Exchange Act.

Despite these issues, Polymarket continued to thrive and attract notable investors. On May 14, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin and Founders Fund, a venture capital firm led by Peter Thiel, invested $70 million into the platform, signaling ongoing confidence in its potential.

Online Gambling Laws in Taiwan and Asia

Online gambling laws in Taiwan are stringent and strictly enforced, reflecting the government’s firm stance against such activities. Under the Taiwanese Criminal Code, all forms of gambling are illegal, including online gambling. The law prohibits the establishment and operation of gambling businesses, and individuals participating in such activities can face severe penalties. For instance, in 2019, Taiwanese authorities arrested several individuals involved in an illegal online gambling ring that generated millions in revenue. This operation underscored the government’s commitment to cracking down on unauthorized gambling activities, with offenders facing substantial fines and imprisonment.

When compared to other Asian countries, Taiwan’s strict approach to online gambling stands out. In contrast, the Philippines offers a more lenient regulatory environment, where the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) licenses and regulates online gambling operators, allowing them to operate legally within the country. Similarly, Singapore has established a controlled and regulated online gambling market through the Remote Gambling Act, permitting only approved operators like Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club to offer online gambling services. These examples highlight the diversity in regulatory approaches across Asia, with Taiwan maintaining a zero-tolerance policy towards online gambling, while other countries adopt more regulated and controlled frameworks.


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