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Gambling Laws in China: Essential Facts

Both Chinese residents and tourists may wonder if they are allowed to gamble. The wide majority of gambling activities are illegal in Mainland China. Unless there are state-controlled events, everything is banned by the law.

Country-run lotteries make an exception

People can still try their luck in lotteries. Even though there are not many options when it comes to these raffle draws, we described the two cases below. Chinese citizens know about those, as they are quite popular. Nonetheless, some readers may be unfamiliar with them.

What are the two prize opportunities?

The Welfare Lottery

The aim of this contest is double-sided. One is to payout a lucky winner, while the second is to use the money for charitable purposes. Thus, the main chunk of the revenue goes to vulnerable groups of people and their aid.
This institution also accepts donations, higher than the cost of a ticket.


The Sports Lottery

Do not let the name confuse you. This establishment allows activities closer to sports betting than a classic draw. The most popular lucky chances can be taken on soccer, basketball, or hockey, on both domestic and international events.
Now that we have touched upon the allowed gambling in the mainland let us talk a bit about the two provinces that have a particular statute.

Two special areas

Hong Kong or Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (HKSAR)

Generally, the situation is just like in other Chinese areas. Unless the gambling is performed at state-run facilities, then it is illegal and penalized. However, the options created by the province are more diverse, as compared to other places.
Under the British influence, Hong Kong allows horse race bets, alongside football and the locally famous Mark Six draw. It emerged in the middle of the 70s, in the effort of combating the underground, unlicensed draws.
It works on the same basis as most European 6 numbers out of 49 pot games, and unless someone hits the exact combination to win first or second placement, the money is kept for a further jackpot.


The Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China

This coastal area is undeniably the most liberal when it comes to gambling. In fact, it is the only place which allows brick and mortar casinos to run their business. Their elegance is known worldwide; you can find them in the elite tourist guides.
The turning point of this booming economic venture was initialized by the state in an effort to get rid of the monopoly created by individual business interests of millionaires. It turns out that the move was a fruitful one.
Macao’s concession over gambling is century-old at this point. Since 1850, the ex-Portuguese colony allowed card gambling and bets, and since its official transition started in 1999, it kept going in a form or another.

Do you know that there’s no stop to Macao gambling?


there is a casino business opened in the province, according to the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (the control authority), it cannot ever stop. It has to work around the clock, during business or free days. Gamblers here have no schedule restrictions.

What’s the deal with Chinese online gambling?

Considering the general gambling ban and the hefty restrictions of Internet usage, it is no wonder that online gambling in China is not allowed. Even so, just like with social media apps and e-mail servers, people find their want around the walls.
Easy to use software like VPNs and trace hiders have enabled the virtual wagering total revenue to rise from a modest sum to almost 150 billion USD. These estimates come from offshoots of state institutions, proving that enforcement is slim.

How do the numbers compare?

To be frank, the 150 billion is impressive by itself. Still, according to economic reports, the sum is double the usual annual total revenue from the two lotteries we have mentioned at the beginning of the article.

China vs Japan: a gambling comparison

China’s balancing of both allowing and disallowing wagers is not unique in its part of the world.
One neighbouring power, namely Japan, deals with these public issues in similar ways. According to the legislation in Chapter 23 of the National Criminal Code, a series of gambling activities are outright banned.
However, some things like sports betting and lotteries are allowed, the money is collected by either local authorities or governmental headquarters. There are also 3 physical casinos all over Japan, all part of leisure resorts.

Japan has an early lead on online gambling

The difference between China and Japan in terms of online gambling is that the latter has way more options when it comes to virtual promo deals selected by experts. The platform focuses on secure casinos and their promotional materials, tested out by gamblers.

Japan’s online wagering is a grey area, allowing websites to scan the international market and review the best Japanese options.

The finish line

China’s gambling situation is complex. Both residents and visitors need to read about what is allowed and what is not allowed, so they avoid troubles. We hope that our article made things more apparent to you.
And remember to be safe and responsible, no matter where and how you gamble!

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