China expands Sports Lottery options; Christians want football bet age raised

hong-kong-jockey-club-china-sports-lotteryChina is about to dramatically expand the options of its popular Sports Lottery offering. Previously limited to accepting wagers only on football and basketball, the State General Administration of Sport now says it will accept wagers on badminton, volleyball (both regular and beach varieties), hockey (both ice and field), tennis, table tennis, handball, water polo as well as other football codes.

The changes, set to take effect on April 12, will initially be rolled out by the Beijing, Guangdong and Tianjin lottery administration centers. The same payout ratio of 65% will apply, with 13% going toward overhead and 22% returning to the public via the Lottery’s charitable efforts.

While China’s lottery operations are an undeniable success, certain naysayers in Hong Kong are attempting to curb football betting’s popularity with younger lottery players. An alliance led by local Christian rehabilitation centers for gamblers wants the Hong Kong Jockey Club to raise its legal betting age to 21 years from its current 18 year benchmark. The group is concerned that the upcoming FIFA World Cup will only increase the ranks of bettors who don’t know when to say when.

The group cited studies of some 6k problem gamblers conducted by three local counseling service centers that found 70% of football gamblers began wagering before the age of 20, 18% began wagering between the ages of 11 and 15 and 4% started gambling before they turned 11. Around 1.2% of the football gamblers were currently students compared to just 0.2% of non-football gamblers. Football gamblers were also found to be better educated, with 14% holding a university degree and 77% having completed secondary school. Gamblers who favored other forms of betting recorded rates of 10% and 62% respectively in these categories. The study determined that in addition to football, 80% of participants also bet on horseracing and 46% gambled at casinos.