SHANGHAI: Nearly US$60 billion passed through China's biggest illegal online casino before it was broken up by authorities, a court said.
The gambling operation was set up by a man surnamed Zhou in 2012, the official Xinhua news agency cited the court as saying. The following year he moved it to Vietnam to try to avoid detection by police. In 2014, the platform was seized by the authorities, reported Zhejiang Online News.
Players on the site, games998.net, exchanged real money into game coins to participate in dozens of gambling games from mahjong to poker, the Legal Daily newspaper reported last year.
According to investigators more than two million people signed up and bought 400 billion yuan (US$58 billion) in game coins, Xinhua said. The operators made profits of 580 million yuan.
Zhou, 47, was arrested in Vietnam and repatriated. He went on trial Thursday in Songyang, in the eastern province of Zhejiang, charged with setting up the online casino.
Eight of Zhou's accomplices were sentenced in an earlier case and several are still at large, Xinhua said.
Gambling is illegal in China, except in state-sanctioned lotteries.