China’s authorized online sports lottery operators got a break this week on news that the country’s gambling watchdogs plan to issue official online lottery licenses ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Shares in Welfare and Sports Lottery operators temporarily plunged earlier this month after a Chinese news agency claimed no lottery operators had been issued licenses to offer products online. A Ministry of Finance (MOF) official subsequently clarified that while no official licenses had been issued, the online operations of several companies had been given tacit approval.
Earlier this week, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported that formal licenses were on the way, with the first batch to go towards those companies already offering online sales under the MOF’s pilot program. The news caused spikes in the share prices of online and mobile lottery operators, with Vodone up 21%, ChinaLotSynergy up 13.3% and Rexlot (Okooo.com) up 8.6%. FIFA’s footie fest kicks off next month and if precedent means anything, the quadrennial event will generate significant betting action. Sports lottery sales doubled during the 2010 World Cup and the Euro 2012 tournament boosted sales 150%.
Also celebrating are digital sports data technology startup Betegy, which just announced a three-year licensing deal with Welfare and Sports Lottery provider SunLoto. The deal will allow SunLoto’s Wozhongla brand to utilize Betegy’s digital sports content and user engagement football predictions products, which cover 20 global football leagues. Wozhongla CEO Gao Lei said his company had long recognized the need for additional sports services and hopes to launch the Betegy offering in early June before play gets underway in Brazil.