Online gambling is very popular in Chinese mainland. According to Wang Xuehong of China Center for Lottery Studies at Peking University, the amount Mainlanders gamble online each year is about the same as the entire GDP of Beijing. The same report says this is because online betting offers better odds and more excitement than our legal lotteries.
Allsport365.com is perhaps the most exciting. This is one of the many URLs mainlanders can use to visit Bet365. They offer betting on all sports and leagues including in-play betting and even have live sports streams. For casino they have live dealer games and standard RNGs games. Online poker including ring games and Texas Hold’em tournaments are available too.
In this article I will compare online betting to our legal lotteries. First, it is important to understand under Chinese betting laws, betting with anyone other than Chinese Sports Lottery and China Welfare Lottery is a minor crime and players can be fined if caught. It is however very rare this happens. Gambling is very popular in China and our police focus on operators not players.
As Bet365 is a major company legal and licensed in the United Kingdom (UK) our authorities have no jurisdiction over them. Their sole deterrent is to block access to www.bet365.com. This company is however very dedicated to allowing mainlanders to gamble online if they choose. If you spend some time searching Baidu you can find there are over 1,000 different URLs to access Bet365 including Allsport365.com.
Online Betting vs. China Lotteries
In this section I compare betting online to betting with Chinese lotteries. The topics addressed are the differences in payment options, casino/lottery and sports betting..
Payment Methods Compared
Our sports and welfare lottery are generally wagered in person at betting shops or stands, but can be bet online. The provinces with approved internet betting are Beijing, Tianjin, and Guangdong. Players from most all of China can use these websites and deposit and get paid with AliPay, PayPal and YeePay.
Bet365 and their competitors do not offer any of these payment methods. Instead Mainlanders use their Chinese debit card to deposit via AsiaPay365 or Click2Pay. Winnings can be requested at anytime and are paid with direct bank transfer (bank-wire).
According to Macau’s 2012 tourism report, they had 16,902,499 arrivals in 2012 from Mainland China and the average stay was just one day. While there are other things to do there, much of this travel is to play casino, which is not possible legally in mainland. The alternative to travel is illegal casinos (either live or online) operated mostly by triad or a legitimate online casino licensed where gambling is legal such as the UK. The latter is far lower risk.
To give an idea of what is offered online here are some of the features of Bet365 Casino:
- Live Dealer Games – are a popular feature of Bet365 casino. They have a studio in Europe and another in Asia where attractive dealers spin roulette wheels, shake dice, and deal cards on real casino tables. These games that are taking place in real life are streamed online for players to bet. The games offered include baccarat, blackjack, roulette, and Sic bo (骰寶).
- RNG Table Games – are offered including the same games found in the live dealer casinos. These are fast-paced games against a computer dealer. Also offered is Pai Gow, Craps, Caribbean Stud, Casino War, Blackjack Switch and dozens of other casino games.
- Online Slots – are available in many variations including movie themes and Asian themes. Some offer progressive jackpots and these can grow to life changing amounts bigger than what even Super Lotto (超級大樂透) and Union Lotto (双色球) offer as top prizes.
- Online Lottery – is available in many formats. There are scratch cards such as what Chinese Sports Lottery offers with dǐng guā guā (頂呱刮) and China Welfare Lottery with Fúcǎi jí kāipiào (福彩即开票). There are rapid draw games such as Keno – which is the game played in Beijing as Happy 8 (快乐8), in Macau as Pacapio (白鴿票) and in Taiwan as BINGO BINGO.
The above is not a complete list of what is offered. There is also video poker and virtual sport games – similar Lucky Racing. Other games and online poker and online bingo are offered too.
This is an area there is no debate in which has better odds and options. In my article Gambling in China I cover the sports betting games Chinese Sports Lottery offers. In none of the games do they pay out more than 65%. UK licensed bookies pay 90+% and high 90’s is quite common. This is “per game” too, so when compounded as multiples (accumulators) the payouts are often double, triple or even more with UK bookies.
Bet365’s main feature is sports betting. This is something they know a lot about as they own the English Premier League franchise Stock City Football Club. Also because they have players in well over 100 countries they cover all sports around the world.
For basketball you can bet NBA, European leagues and of course China’s CBA basketball ((中国男子篮球职业联赛). For football (soccer) our leagues covered include Chinese Super League (中国足球协会超级联赛), China League One (中国足球协会甲级联赛) – also known as Chinese Jia League(中甲联赛) and China League Two (Yi League) and the Chinese FA Cup, but you can also bet Premier League from England (EPL), La Liga form Spain or any other football from Europe and Asia.
You can find many other sports such as ping pong table tennis (乒乓球), badminton (羽毛球), and snooker (斯诺克) that are popular in China. Golf, Formula 1 racing, volleyball, baseball, cricket and all other sports imagined can be bet at Bet365 too.
Another major difference is the betting options. It is in not uncommon to find 50+ different ways to bet a single match. Examples for football include if a player will score, what the correct score will be, over under on number of corners or yellow cards, half-time/full-time, which team will be carded first, and this is only a small sample. For NBA you can bet over/under on rebounds, blocked shots or points scored by players. In baseball you can even bet if there will be a run in the first inning, or how many strike outs a pitcher will have. Of course for all these you can still bet over/under (hi-lo) or who will in the match – and what is shared are only examples of the MANY betting options.
Another major draw to online betting is many matches can bet while the game is in-play. Bet365 even offers high quality legal sports streams right from their website. This allows punters to watch a match on their computer screen and make bets on many markets the bookie offers while the match is still being played.
In short, as Wang Xuehong of China Center for Lottery Studies at Peking University has explained online betting is more popular because it offers better odds and more excitement than our legal lotteries. Until the government licenses foreign bookmakers or manages to replicate what they offer it will always be true that many Chinese prefer betting at sites such as Bet365 over our legal lotteries.