The true scale of the Chinese credit sports betting market can only be guessed at, but Wang Xuehong, exec director of the China Center for Lottery Studies at Peking University, estimates that underground betting could exceed one trillion yuan ($154b). Other studies have suggested the total Asian sports betting handle could be three times that figure.
The Global Times recently spoke with a regional representative for 888Crown.com, who offered to rent reporter Xuyang Jingjing his very own gambling site for 1k-5k yuan/month. The rep, who went by the name Ma, offered 1% commission and an 80/20 split on the profits and losses. “You pay a 20% deposit, give us your name, address and two bank accounts: one for the commissions and the other for us to wire you the money should you lose the bet.”
“Depending on how much deposit you give us you can get 100,000 or 1 million yuan in daily transactions. Between the commission and the bets, you can earn tens of thousands a day, easy.” Ma claimed 888Crown, which is based overseas, had representatives all over the Chinese mainland and that the authorities were not an issue. “Security is guaranteed 100 percent. We change the server all the time, they’ll never catch us.”
Ministry of Public Security official Xu Jianzhuo admitted gathering evidence for successful gambling prosecutions was problematic. Ren Jie, a businessman who twice lost his fortune betting with underground credit bookies, is endeavoring to assist the authorities by turning over the info he collects from the thousands of problem gamblers that he now helps counsel. He even went undercover during last year’s World Cup, keeping records of websites, phone numbers, bank accounts and transaction records, all of which he dutifully handed over to the authorities.
However, if their ultimate goal is to deter the underground operators, Ren Jie thinks the authorities should improve their own betting product. China does have a legal ‘sports lottery,’ but Ren Jie thinks those who run it need to “manage it better and make it more attractive. The non-sanctioned form of sports betting “is just much more fun than lotteries!”