Chinese government to allow domestic football lottery?

Chinese government to allow domestic football lottery?

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Chinese Super League (CSL) will not outstrip its European counterparts any time soon, but continued investment in Chinese football, coupled with rumours that the country’s sports lottery sector may soon open up to domestic soccer, will keep the market under the industry spotlight over the coming months.

At this month’s Betting on Football Conference in London, Rory Anderson, a consultant at 12Bet, asked three leading authorities on the Chinese sports betting industry to assess the potential of the CSL in the context of the global sports betting market.

“I think we should take it seriously,” said Andre Rodrigues, CEO of Malta-based investment firm, Goldblue. “It’s going to be a long time before we see a derby in Guangzhou compete with a Manchester derby, but we are seeing rapid growth in the money being spent, the salaries and the transfers.

“The CSL is now being broadcast around the world. The timing is great for Europeans, as the games are played early morning and midday.”

Jim Yu, founder and CEO of social gaming company, TCM Inplay, underlined the country’s growing appetite for football. “International clubs go to China every summer,” he said. “Chinese sponsors pay a lot of money for teams to play in the country. For example, the Milan derby happens in the Bird’s Nest in Beijing every year, along with numerous international friendlies.”

“The Chinese love football, and the local government gives a lot of support,” Yu added. “If you spend a lot of effort on training the youths to play football, you will also receive funding from the government.

While Yu noted that the only legal form of sports betting in the Chinese mainland comes in the form of sports lotteries based around foreign teams, he said the government is currently considering opening up the domestic football lottery sector.

“The only legal betting activity in China is sports lottery,” Yu said. “Operators can offer every football league in the world, but no Chinese leagues. This is due to perceived match fixing and corruption. But the government is looking into providing a lottery purchase on the domestic Chinese league.

“There are a lot of investment companies putting money into buying football clubs around the world, creating football academies in China and building up the industry.

“CSL has a lot of popularity in major cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. In those cities, you will barely see empty seats. It’s difficult to get tickets, it’s getting more and more popular. The industry is picking up.”

Nelson Ferrigni, owner and managing director at Ogoun Consulting, said it was only a matter of time before Chinese consumers can play sports lotteries based around domestic football.

“I think, in general for the CSL, it will change at some point, given its popularity,” he said. “In the next 10 years it will be bigger. Will it compete with European leagues? It’s doubtful, but the government will push it, at some point, to legalise CSL into Chinese sports lottery. It’s better to do it there than on illegal sites operating in China.

“It’s also important to note that President Xi Jinping loves football. It’s something that he’s pushing. There are many soccer schools being set up. They want to win the World Cup. The next step for them is getting professional Chinese players out into Europe.”

Totally Gaming says: The opening up of China’s domestic football sports lottery has the potential to generate major returns for the government. In the meantime, continued investment in the country’s football infrastructure, the establishment of youth training initiatives and high-profile player transfers is helping to develop what is already a multimillion-dollar industry.

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