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Betting in China

Published on: 30/11/2015

Many of the gambling activities played around the globe today, actually derived from China. For instance the game called “Keno,” which is a lottery-style game, generated enough profit to help with the building of China’s Great Wall. Dominoes were originally thought up by the Chinese in the 10th century. Traditional board games such as Wei-Qi and chess are still enjoyed to this day.

Playing Cards were made possible in the second century thanks to the Eastern Han Dynasty’s papermaking skills. Before Playing Cards were created, decorated tiles and stones were used and some of these games are still popular in the modern age including Pai Gow, Sic Bo, Fan Tan and Mahjongg. Paper money is an essential element of most types of gambling and its existence, like Playing Cards was made possible by the Eastern Han Dynasty’s papermaking techniques.

In 1949, the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) made nearly all forms of gambling illegal, even though the country had traditionally enjoyed wagering for centuries. As a result, betting companies as well as punters found to be taking part in any gambling activity, could face penalties or even prison sentences.

However, the Chinese government has allowed two state-organised lotteries: the Sports Lottery and the Welfare Lottery. The Welfare Lottery is organised by the China Welfare Lottery Centre (CWLC) and controlled by the Ministry of Civil Affairs. The Welfare Lottery tickets first became available in 1987.

The Sports Lottery started in 1994, and is run by the China Sports Lottery Administration Centre (CSAC). It is managed by the General Administration of Sports who is in turn regulated by the State Council.

Up until 2007, the countries Lottery trade grew to over RMB100 billion, at a yearly increase rate of 25%. In 2010, the total profit from lotteries reached just under 70 billion. Some of the money raised was put towards the construction of sports facilities as well as providing funds for welfare initiatives.

Unlawful betting activities are to be found all throughout China, horse racing and the game of Mahjongg being particular favourites. One survey reports that the nation’s illegal gambling industry generates more profits than the permitted Sports and Welfare lotteries put together. The Chinese government is aware that something needs to be done to resolve the problem.

In addition, there are talks of amending the strict horse gambling regulations. Currently, the horseracing tracks offered by the Hong Kong Jockey Club are the only places where citizens can legally wager.

Macau and Hong Kong were once territories of Europe but are now within the people’s republic of China. However they are both regions that require passports for travel and their laws and regulations differ from the mainland.

This alternative administration that exists in Macau has enabled the region to keep its gambling venues open. Gambling businesses from other countries are taking advantage by offering their services and contributing to the rapid growth of the cities gambling trade. The citizens of China are forbidden to wager via internet online sportsbooks whether within the country’s borders or on foreign web sites. However, the government has so far been unable to stop this form of gambling from occurring.

Currently there are roughly 500 gambling web sites that welcome trade from Chinese citizens. Over 30 of these facilities sportsbooks offer services in the Chinese language including such well-known operators as Bet365, Stan James and William Hill.