Chinese Technology Firms Score From World Cup Betting

By providing their technology platforms for China's huge legal sports lotteries, some companies are creating exciting new revenues

The massive amount of Asian – and particularly Chinese – betting on the current football World Cup has again underlined the huge potential of this deeply restricted market… and companies not directly involved in the wagering process are benefiting handsomely, reports the Agence France Presse news agency.

The report centres on giant Internet technology companies like Alibaba and Tencent, which have cannily partnered up with the few provincial sports lottery behemoths licensed by the Chinese government to facilitate online wagering.

That has enabled them to share in the billions that are being placed in bets now and into the future by a large population with a long culture of gambling.

Tencent and Alibaba have been quick to capitalise on app technology, enabling the lotteries to tap into the country's vast number of mobile phone users, providing them with the convenience of online wagering.

Experts are predicting that this year's World Cup betting alone will legally generate up to 10 billion yuan – more than twice that wagered in 2010 on the last World Cup in South Africa.

Even more will be handled through the illegal black market, as the growing number of gambling ring busts in China has illustrated.

One tech-savvy punter in Shanghai summed up the public reaction to the convenience of app betting on the World Cup, telling AFP:

"I find it so much easier to bet on an app, rather than having to go to a lottery centre."

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