Illegal Gambling Leaves Huge Untapped iGaming Market in China

Published November 8, 2015 by Lee R

Illegal Gambling Leaves Huge Untapped iGaming Market in China

Illegal gambling activity is twenty times more common in a country where wagering is a national pastime.

Everyone knows that China represents a huge economy, but did you know that China and related Asian jurisdictions are still an untapped market for iGaming?

Legal Betting

The only legal wagering taking place in China and the Asian region is two popular state controlled lotteries: the China Welfare Lottery, launched in 1997, and the China Sports Lottery launched in 1994. An estimated 75% of revenues were used to fund Chinese social welfare programs and new sports centers around China.

Unregulated Gambling

This leaves all other forms of wagering activity or servicing in the vast Chinese region punishable by fine or imprisonment--in a region where underground gambling in China is estimated to generate revenues up to 20 times greater than the legal lotteries.

That leaves 95% of gambling taking place in the massive Chinese Pacific region currently unregulated: if regulated, this huge market could be serviced by licensed gambling operators whose voluminous revenues could be taxed back to the Chinese authority in a market where online casinos such as bodog, dafabet, and 32red Casino have already proven popular with Chinese players.

Current Landscape

The current situation in China has Chinese authorities blocking access to offshore online gambling sites at the search engine level, as well as prohibiting Internet Service Providers from providing access to online gambling sites.

Meanwhile, leading casinos continue to accept players from China and offer Chinese language versions, with Chinese players using US dollars and global online payment wallets to fund their online player accounts.

In a country where gambling is illegal, the Chinese government does not consider lotteries a form of gambling, inevitably resulting in widespread illegalized activity in a country where wagering is beyond popular; it is a veritable cultural trait.


In a first for online betting activity in China, Chinese residents were allowed to place online bets on the FIFA World Cup. With over 500 million people in China accessing the Internet via smart phones, associate professor Huang Guihai at the Gaming Teaching and Research Centre at the Macao Polytechnic Institute said, "The law is quite strict in China, but gaming opportunities are very accessible to anyone who has a smart phone.”

Clearly, the most practical move would appear to be regulating online gambling and harnessing the benefits of the potential 2000% increase in taxable revenues.  However, like every other autonomous government, the Chinese government has its own set of policies and ethics to resolve before allowing eager private operators to come in and profit.

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See also

China Sweeps Illegal Gambling

Texas Toughens on Illegal Gambling

Hong Kong cracks down on illegal gambling

4 Illegal Gambling Operations Shut Down In Michigan

South Africa to Clamp Down on Illegal Online Gambling

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