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Is Online Gambling Allowed in China?

When it comes to Online gambling, China has a long history. It is known as the country where some of the most popular games like Pai Gow and Keno originated (if you’re not familiar, check out this guide to casino games). Since the Communist Party took control of the country in 1949, online gambling has become illegal, but the country’s gambling market is currently generating around $4 billion on an annual basis.

So far, the only legal forms of online gambling in China are two government lotteries sports lottery and welfare lottery. The rest of the gambling has been officially declared illegal under the country’s laws. Legal gambling operations are currently only offered in the Special Administrative Regions of Macau and Hong Kong, whose legal systems are similar to those of the European countries that ran them in the past.

History of gambling regulation in China

Gambling policy has been developed in China over a long period of time. According to Chinese history, such games were played thousands of years before the Han era (206 BC – 220 AD). It is proven that some of the earliest versions were in China and date back to the 4th century BC.

Early Gambling Laws

Gambling is considered to have existed long before the Qing Dynasty (221-206 BC). Sports betting was also one of the most popular forms of gambling activities in the country, especially considering the fact that it was the time when one of the oldest forms of football (soccer) was established.

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There is also early evidence of laws prohibiting gambling dating back to the Wei Kingdom (403-225 BC). During the period when gambling activities were declared outside the law, monetary fines were imposed. During the Tang Dynasty, gambling had reached the entire community.

Additionally, sports were probably the most common type of gambling activity, along with tile, dice, and card games. Penalties for illegal gambling activities began as monetary fines, but later included military service as well. Punishments for gambling on military or officials were stricter.

All this can make the online gambling fan in China turn into a ball of stress. Here’s your online gambling survival kit from Decade Lyrics!


As mentioned earlier, gambling is officially illegal in China. All forms of online gambling have been banned in the country except for lotteries since 1949. Punishments for breaking the law are severe and include fines and imprisonment.

Two lotteries operate in mainland China – the Chinese Sports Lottery and the Chinese Welfare Lottery.

The Chinese Sports Lottery Administration Center is currently under regulation by the General Administration of Sports. The State Council has authorized it to issue lottery tickets since 1994. On the other hand, the Ministry of Civil Affairs regulates the Chinese Social Welfare Lottery Issuance Center. The latter was authorized to issue lottery tickets by the State Council in 1987 and has been offering such tickets ever since.

The Chinese lottery market is booming. The industry was estimated to total $40 billion in 2012, placing it second only to the United States. The market has expanded rapidly since 2007.

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Betting on horse racing has always been popular among the Chinese. Despite the ban on betting on activities, such races are still organized on the territory of China. It was officially legalized in 2008. The government is currently considering legalizing betting on horse racing, but the process is rather slow.

Online gambling destinations and games like the Gate of Olympus slots do show a high % of their traffic deriving from China, and do show what looks like a decent share of native Chinese users and customers.