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  • Andrew Collins

The Revival of Chinese Sports Lottery

Updated: May 30, 2019

The sports lottery business in China will expand to new heights in 2016.

Since its inception in 1987, the state-owned Chinese Sports Lottery has attracted millions of Chinese sports fans nationwide. Despite strict laws regulating gambling in China, there are many other legal forms including sports betting and welfare lottery. It has become one of the world’s largest markets in terms of lottery sales, with a reported revenue of 367.9 billion yuan in 2015. However, for the past few years there have been issues with corruption and match-fixing, which resulted in misappropriation of 16.9 billion yuan. Last year saw a huge decrease in revenue, which was not only affected by a temporary online ban on lottery sales but also due to the lack of sporting events.

The cyclical trends in China Sports Lottery’s popularity are based on event-driven catalysts. For example, the 2014 FIFA World Cup epitomized the importance of global sporting events in the lottery business. When WeChat launched its lottery platform for the World Cup, that year saw an all-time high in sports lottery sales amounting to 382 billion yuan.


This year’s latest addition of Chinese Super League (CSL) and Chinese League 1 into the lottery business has sparked great popularity among millions of Chinese football fans. Now, fans can predict the outcomes of domestic league games online in a “lottery-based” concept, with the chance of earning a return of money. This type of lottery has been strongly encouraged by club owners because approximately 35% of the revenue from the lottery will be invested in developing football and the overall sports industry in China.

What has attracted even more Chinese football fans is this year’s UEFA Euro 2016, Rio 2016 Olympics, the NBA Finals and Wimbledon 2016 all taking place within the span of two months from June to August. Also, thanks to the rebooting of online lottery, the lottery business could see 2016 to be the most successful year in terms of revenue.

In contrast to popular online sports betting platforms in other countries such as bet365, William Hill and Ladbrokes, the Chinese Sports Lottery (Sporttery) is highly regulated by the state but involves match-betting lottery similar to its counterparts. The usage of the term “lottery” in China can be considered wishy-washy, as it still involves a form of monetary rewards from short-term betting with both low and high stakes. Though, the main difference between these betting platforms is the fact that much of the lottery sales in China contribute to a more developed sports industry domestically.

According to Yan Peng, an analyst from Citic Securities, these sports lotteries are aimed at retaining sustained domestic growth through sporting events in the short term while fuelling a rising sports industry in China in the long term. It seems like the introduction of CSL, major upcoming sporting events, and revival of online lottery will all prove greatly beneficial for Chinese Sports Lottery and the domestic sports industry this year as long as the lottery funds are properly allocated this time.


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