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June 9, 2011

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Last spin for mall 'roulette'

AN elderly woman stepped out of the crowd toward the "casino table", threw all her chips down on the number 9, then, after a moment's hesitation, moved them to number 8.

"Roll it", she told the "croupier," who clicked the mouse, spinning the roulette wheel on a LED screen.

This scene took place in Westgate Mall on Nanjing Road W. yesterday afternoon as a promotional event.

It attracted lots of customers but raised doubts among local residents that whether the mall was running an illegal gambling business.

According to the game rules, a customer who holds the mall's membership card can receive one chip for each 1,000 yuan (US$15) they spend there.

Customers can use the chip to "gamble" at the "casino table" to try to amass more chips and exchange them for gifts or cash coupons.

When the ball landed in the number 9, the elderly woman laughed as the "croupier" removed her chips. "The game is interesting as it is totally foreign to me," said the woman, surnamed Wu, "But I don't know whether it is illegal gambling."

An official with the shopping mall, surnamed Peng, said the game was only a lucky draw event. But to avoid misunderstanding, in future the mall would no longer hold events that look like gambling, said Peng.


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