Online Sports Betting in Mainland China

china map flagHere on the Chinese Mainland, government contracted and licensed betting shops known as the Chinese Sports Lottery (Sporttery) can be found in cities throughout the country. For those who prefer to bet online, each province has it’s own official lottery site, again licensed and regulated by each regions local government.

As well as the official sites, we can also use the “caipiao” section on popular websites such as TaoBao, Sina, Sohu, Tencent and 163.com, who are officially licensed agents of the Sporttery. All these sites accept AliPay, YeePay, ePay, bank transfer, Paypal and even mobile phone credit for ticket purchases. While very convenient to use, Sports lotto odds are very poor compared to what foreign online bookies offer.

In this article I will compare China Sports Lottery vs. Online Bookies. Before getting to that topic I will first discuss how to use these internet bookies. I will cover how depositing works, internet censorship issues and of course any legal issues. You will also need a VPN (we recommend this one).

After reading this article you will hopefully realise that online bookies are a far better choice for betting on sports profitably.

RenMinBi人民币 (RMB) Betting Sites

The best betting sites to use from mainland China are those legal and licensed in countries with strict gambling commissions. Areas that come to mind for this are the United Kingdom, the Philippines and the Isle of Man. Each of these countries derives large tax revenue from gambling. As a result they do not issue licenses to companies that cheat or fail to pay players promptly. The best legal and licensed foreign bookies supporting Renminbi (RMB) currency are listed below.

  • Rank
  • Site
  • How to Deposit
  • Language
  • Visit Site
  • 4
  • 138.com
  • Bank Wire / eWallet
  • Chinese / English
  • www.138.com

All of these companies are huge betting brands, with a presence in a large number of countries worldwide. Bet365 is UK based and owns the English Premier League franchise Stoke City FC. The other three are currently or have previously been EPL sponsors, are well regulated and highly respected in the gambling industry.

In order to use these sites you will need to make a deposit. The good news is this is possible using your Chinese Unionpay debit card.

With online betting, everything is done on a deposit/withdraw basis. Let’s use a theoretical example to explain how the process works. Say for example, you deposit 1000RMB into your account. You want to bet on a CSL game between Guangzhou Pharma and Shanghai Shenhua. You bet 200 RMB that Guangzhou will win at odds of 2.0.

First off, your balance becomes 800, as your stake is deducted from your balance of 1000. If that bet wins, the 200 RMB stake is returned to your account balance and the winnings are added too. In our example above a win is worth 400 RMB: your 200 RMB stake plus 200 RMB profit. So overall your account balance will have increased to 1200 RMB. Of course if Guangzhou lose or draw, your balance will stay at 800.

At any time you want to cash out your money, you can visit the bookies online cashier to request a payout. You can withdraw any amount up to one hundred percent of your balance. So if you have 800 in your account, you can cash out any amount up to 800. Once you make a cashout request, they will deduct the amount from you balance and pay it to your bank account in 1-3 business days. Generally speaking, the minimum cashout is 100 RMB.

The last thing to note is that foreign bookies do not charge any fees for deposits or withdrawals.

china sports lottery shop
Lottery shops such as those above can be found in every city and town throughout the whole of China

Internet Censorship Issues

An occasional hassle with using foreign gambling sites is internet censorship. If you visit www.10bet.com you might find that it is blocked. If you instead visit www.28365365.com this URL probably works. That is because it is one of hundreds of mirror sites Bet365 has set up to help Chinese punters get around internet censorship. If ever you are using a bookie website that stops working due to internet blocks, just search the companies name at Baidu.com. It shouldn’t take long to find a working mirror. If you get stuck, you can always email them for help or use a VPN.

Football Betting in China

Football was essentially invented in our country. FIFA recognizes cuju played here during the 2nd-3rd century BCE as the earliest form of football for which there is evidence. There is poetry written during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) about betting on the sport. In short it is safe to say that Chinese have likely been betting on football matches for over 2,000 years. Today football betting is one of the core products of Chinese Sports Lottery.

With the football version of sports lottery we have many games. Optional Nine (任选九) is home/away/draw selections on 9 football matches. Bàn quán chǎng -半全场 is tipping 6 selections on half-time/full-time. Jin Qiucai ( 进球彩) involves tipping the correct score in 4 matches. Our main game is picking the home/draw/away in 14 football matches. I will focus on this main lottery to show that the odds are poor.

To compare, let me use issue #13035 held on 10 March 2013. The 14 games and their results for this football pool were as follows:

EPL Matches:

1. Norwich 0 vs. Southampton 0 (3.25)
2. QP Rangers 3 vs. Sunderland 1 (2.25)
3. Reading 1 vs. Aston Villa 2 (2.88)
4. West Brom 2 vs. Swansea 1 (2.30)

Bundesliga Matches:

Bayern Munich 3 vs. Dussel 2 (1.10)
Schalke 2 vs. Dortmund 1 (3.50)
Mainz 1 vs. Bayer Leverkusen (2.88)
Freiburg 2 vs. Wolfsburg 5 (5.00)
Greuther Furth 0 vs. Hoffenheim 3 (2.70)
B. Moenchengladbach 1 vs. Bremen 1 (3.50)

La Liga Matches

Barcelona 2 vs. Dep. La Coruna 0 (1.13)
Valladolid 1 vs. Malaga 1 (3.40)
Rayo Vallecano 2 vs. Espanyol 0 (1.91)
Mallorca 2 vs. Seville 1 (3.10)

The part I noted in brackets (like this) is what the odds were at Bet365 for the winning bet.

Sports lottery winners who got 14 of 14 correct were paid 937,656 RMB less 20% income tax for an actual payout of 750,125 RMB. Those who got 13 of 14 correct were paid 14,883 RMB but the actual payout after income tax was 11,907 RMB.

On the surface, these odds are similar to what “most” online bookies pay on 14 and 13 fold accumulators. However www.bet365.com pays a 90% bonus on 13-fold wins, and a 100% bonus on 14-fold wins.

Making the exact same bet with an online bookie, is slightly confusing. The best way to do so is to put 70% of your stake on 14-fold straight. Then play the remaining 30% as 13-fold round robin (there’s a box to do this) on the 14 selections.

For our example above, this is what the payout would have been at Bet365 for the exact same bet we placed with the Sporttery.

If you got 13 of 14 correct the payout would be different depending which match you got wrong. However, the average payout was 15,192 RMB for 13 of 14 correct at Bet365 compared to 11907 RMB at Sports Lottery.

Where it becomes extremely significant is if you got all 14 correct; for your 0.7 RMB stake you would have been paid 1,619,381 RMB. With sports lottery you are not paid extra on 13 of 14 if you get 14 of 14 (it is one prize only). At Bet365 you would have also won 14 different 13-fold round robin bets. This means you would have earned (15,192*14)+1,619,381=1,832,069 RMB at Bet365, compared to 750,125 RMB with the Sports Lottery. That is 2.44 times more money won at Bet365! So from this one example, it’s clear that betting with online bookies is way, way more profitable than using the Sporttery.

The same is true for all other products the sports lottery offers. Online bookies always have better odds. Of course the above was just an example of a single draw. With the main football lottery, 65% of sales go into the pot. 70% of the pot is split by those getting 14 of 14 correct, and 30% by those getting 13 of 14 correct. The exact comparison to Bet365 changes often. It depends how many others win. I’ve seen times Bet365 pays 50% more and I’ve seen times they pay 5-times more. I have never seen an example where Sports Lotto paid higher.

Asian Bookies Offer Betting Odds

When it comes to football betting if you want to play lottery style where you select many teams then Bet365 is best. When you are just betting on single matches, or props it is hard to beat Asian bookies such as www.dafabet.com. Here you will find all the major football leagues from all over the world available. Furthermore, they offer better odds than sports lotto and Bet365.

The leagues and competitions covered include the World Cup, Euros, Champions League and the top European leagues such as the EPL, Serie A, La Liga and the Bundesliga. They also include football from all other countries including China. Here you can bet on our own domestic football such as Chinese Super League, Jia League, Yi League and our FA Cup.

Basketball Betting

There are also pari-mutuel pool based wagers for NBA basketball with our Sporttery. Having already given a long example of this for football, I will just tell you nothing is different here. Bet365 offers much better odds. What I want to focus on in this section is the other product offered by our sports lottery called single match (straight bets) and single field betting (accumulators).

Both of the above are very popular options for betting basketball and baseball, though especially for NBA. To give an idea of the odds – Euro basketball point spreads are generally offered at 1.70 per side (100 RMB staked wins 70 RMB profit). For NBA the same is 1.75 (100 RMB staked wins 75 RMB profit).

While Bet365 has better odd than sports lottery, for basketball betting you’ll want to scroll to the top of this page and use the other three sites suggested. At these sites called Asian Bookies you will find NBA point spreads at 1.95 per side. That is stake 100 RMB to win 95 RMB compared to stake 100 RMB to win 75 RMB with Sports Lotto. For European basketball and also our own Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) you will find odds of 1.91 on handicaps. This is stake 100 RMB to win 91 RMB compared to stake 100 RMB to win 70 RMB with our sports lottery.

Although true for any sport, with basketball using several online bookies is a great idea. If you already have an account at Dafabet, you should join www.188bet.com and www.bodog88.com too. Here you can compare the odds and see which is offering better value for the sport you are looking to bet.

Bet365 for all Other Sports

Many of the bookies covered on this page are focused on Asia. 188Bet is in the Isle of Man and is fairly globally focused. Bodog88 and Dafabet are Philippines based and licensed. These bookies are heavily focused on Asia where football and basketball are the major markets. While they have limited odds on baseball, ping pong, volleyball, tennis, Formula 1, golf and other sports, they do not offer as many markets at Bet365. For anything besides soccer and basketball Bet365 is my strong suggestion. You can find live-in play betting and even sports streams from their website on many different sports.

A Final Note on China’s Gambling Laws

china sporttery logoConsidering the profits made by the China Sports Lottery and Welfare lottery are more than the casino industry in any single country (example: more than every US casino combined) it would be hypocritical to say China is still anti-gambling. We even have virtual lottery terminals in some provinces that function like slot machines, plus rapid draw lotto games, instant scratch, sports betting and more.

The good news is whether you see it or not, China is changing. Several years ago gambling arrests always numbered in the millions annually. In 2012 only 347,000 citizens were prosecuted for gambling related crimes. This might still seem like a big number but consider this.

During this year the police also broke up over 30,000 illegal casinos and over 10,000 gangs responsible for running them. This also included prosecution of junket operators, live dealer casino staff, agents, promoters, affiliates, and banks. Of the 347,000 only 5,700 were sentence to detention (most for less than 15 months). The fact is those who were sentenced to detention were not casual gamblers. For the small percentage of casual gamblers caught, the penalty was a petty fine.

When using the gambling sites suggested on this page you are dealing with companies legal under international law. These are all safe and well regulated. I would not suggest bragging about using these sites. I also do not suggest using them in internet cafés or on mobile phone while in public. However, despite some stories we read in the media, the truth is the authorities here have little issue with social gambling done in one’s own home. The only thing they do to prevent this is internet censorship. The chances of ever having a legal issue for gambling on the internet in your own home with no money exchanged in person is close to zero.