China issued licenses to the country’s sports lottery operators to offer World Cup betting products online on the eve of the tournament. A Ministry of Finance official said while no official licenses had been issued at press time, the online operations of several companies have been given tacit approval.
The Hong Kong Economic Journal reported that formal licenses are on the way, with the first batch to go to companies already offering online sales under an MOF pilot program.
Just like everywhere else, the kickoff of the World Cup in Brazil in June was expected to generate significant betting action in China. Sports lottery sales doubled during the 2010 World Cup. The Euro 2012 tournament boosted sales 150 percent.
Total sales for the country’s officially sanctioned Sports and Welfare Lotteries topped US$51 billion in 2013, an 18.3 percent gain over 2012, and analysts expect the online sports lottery market will double in value by 2015.