China Lottery and Sports Betting Revenue Down Through June, 2018 Men’s World Cup Blamed for Decline

Posted on: July 29, 2019, 08:13h. 

Last updated on: July 29, 2019, 08:38h.

Revenues from the China lottery and sports betting are down considerably this year. Lottery officials point to last year’s men’s World Cup, as well as the ongoing trade war with the US, for the decline.

China lottery revenue sports betting
Fewer customers are stopping in at China lottery outlets. (Image:

The People’s Republic Ministry of Finance reports that lottery sales totaled 34.77 billion ($5.05 billion) in June, a nearly 41 percent drop compared to the same month in 2018. Welfare lottery sales were down 16.6 percent, while sports lottery revenue plummeted more than 52 percent.

Through the first six months of the year, the Chinese lotteries are 13.3 percent short of where they were a year ago. Revenue totals $30.8 billion.

China has two lotteries – the welfare lottery and sports lottery. Combined, the lotteries employ some 75,000 people. Players can purchase tickets at brick-and-mortar shops that are commonplace in cities throughout the mainland.

Lottery Isn’t Gambling…

The 2018 World Cup brought 32 teams to Russia. The most bet on international sporting event is also popular in China, and the Ministry of Finance says it generated a large handle for the sports lottery.

The welfare lottery is similar to lotteries in the US, where players simply pick numbers in a game of chance. The sports lottery allows players to predict the outcomes of soccer matches and other sports. Lottery customers pick winning teams and scores, and can up the ante by adding money to their bet. 

Popular sports in China include soccer, running, badminton, swimming, basketball, table tennis, volleyball, cycling, and martial arts. Revenue won by the lotteries is kept for social programs.

Gambling remains outlawed in the mainland, but the People’s Republic federal government doesn’t consider playing the lottery as a form of gambling. The country, however, has jurisdiction over Macau, the world’s richest casino hub that is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China.

Rogue Online Operations

The absence of a World Cup has been cited for the China lottery fall. The ongoing trade war with the US – which has slowed the Chinese economy and growth – could also be keeping some otherwise would-be players away.

Those who are gambling have also turned to their computers and smartphones. Though gambling is illegal, internet casino operators in the Philippines have long been catering to mainland Chinese customers.

Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators – or POGOs – continue to thrive. The Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), which regulates the Filipino gaming industry, says internet casinos will generate an estimated $117 million in taxes this year.

POGO licensees aren’t supposed to be targeting countries like China where gambling online is illegal, but loose enforcement allows the activity to blossom. Earlier this month, PAGCOR Chair Andrea Domingo told reporters regarding President Rodrigo Duterte’s meeting with China President Xi Jinping that the subject of online gaming was not discussed.

China’s crackdown on junket groups in Macau that bring the mainland’s affluent to the enclave has spurred VIP growth at the Philippines’ multibillion-dollar casino resorts in Manila. Proxy betting – the activity of betting on behalf of another person via in-person or remotely – is legal in the Filipino city.

Domingo told Reuters in the past that she’s “not very conversant” regarding proxies, but says it’s indeed permitted.