Chinese sports leagues and sports clubs are increasingly restricting online and offline gaming to enforce a crackdown on illegal online gambling.
The crackdown comes after several players from China’s top basketball league, the National Basketball Association, were arrested for allegedly gambling on games played in China’s notoriously corrupt and corruptive legal gambling industry.
The latest arrests came just a few weeks after two former top basketball players, Yao Ming and Yao Wen, were sentenced to jail time in China for running illegal gambling sites that were allegedly operated by a number of prominent officials.
“I would never bet on a game, not on basketball, not even a single game in China,” Yao said.
Yao said he had no idea that his account had been shut down.
“The reason why I got shut down is because the law prohibits gambling online, so I cannot gamble on basketball.”
Yao was released from prison last year after serving a year in jail for violating a one-year ban on gambling.
Yao and Wen have both been suspended from the NBA.
The two former players were arrested in March and were detained at their homes in Guangzhou, where they were traveling to the United States.
According to their indictment, they used fake names and email addresses to access websites that allowed them to bet on basketball games in China.
The government of Guangdong province in eastern China has reportedly launched a crackdown against online gambling and has seized large amounts of bitcoin and other digital currencies from players, and banned players from participating in other sports.
Yao’s lawyer, Zhang Zhonghua, told the Associated Press that his client was only playing for fun and was not intending to take part in gambling.
“He is a humble man, and he wants to play the game for the love of basketball,” Zhang said.
“As he has said before, he is just playing to improve himself.
He is not trying to profit from gambling.”
Yao Wen’s lawyer said he has been trying to get his client released from jail.
Yao has been active in sports for decades.
He was the youngest member of the China Basketball Association’s (CBAA) top five players when he joined the league in 2006.
He went on to be a four-time All-Star and a two-time World Champion.
Yao was also the first Chinese-born player to play for the NBA All-Stars in a World Cup match, becoming the first player to ever win gold medals at the 2010 Beijing Olympics.
Yao played for the Beijing Olympic team for five seasons and won three gold medals.
Yao also played for China at the Olympics in Beijing in 2008, 2008 and 2009.
Yao is one of the highest-paid athletes in Chinese basketball.
Yao Wen and Yao Ming have been arrested for running gambling websites that were reportedly operated by the head of the Beijing sports industry.