Most Popular eSports Bookies in China

China is undoubtedly the largest esports market in the world. While some people see it as a past-time activity for the youthful population, esports are deeply embedded in China's policy in terms of innovation. In light of this fact, China's General Administration of Sports officially recognized eSports in 2003.

The past few years have been tough for many sectors of the economy. With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the sports betting industry hard, bookmakers had to rethink their marketing strategies. These developments saw esports events take the place of traditional sports.

Most Popular eSports Bookies in China

As the eSports industry keeps surging, China is one country where esports betting has taken a positive trajectory. And since online betting is banned in China, esports bettors are forced to wager on operators who are based overseas.

Most online bookmakers who cover esports strive to capture all major events. Chinese punters are served with 1000s of daily markets on various esports events worldwide. In a way, the diversity offered by offshore bookmakers has had a significant contribution to the popularization of eSports betting activities in the country. Also, the pandemic saw punters who have never thought about wagering on esports events rethink their betting strategies.

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History of esports betting in China

History of esports betting in China

It is easy to figure out why the Chinese show a high aptitude for gambling. Chinese people have a long history with gambling, with records showing that gambling was practiced in the first dynasty, some 4,000 years ago, and has been recorded in each dynasty since that time. This can be further evidenced by the fact that some casino games played today originated in China.

China has had it rough as far as becoming the world's number one esports country goes. Back in the 90s, the Chinese viewed video gaming and esports as taboos. Things changed fast, and China is now regarded as a force to reckon with in this realm.

Before 2009, esports were painted in a negative light. These games were often considered obscene, ineffective, and deficient in cultural refinement. In light of this, harsh laws were instituted to protect the young population from the seemingly corrupting industry.

Many video and esports games were outlawed in China, while domestic games attracted all manner of restrictions, including official warnings and fines, which forced developers back to the drawing board. However, the popularization of video games never yielded to these external pressures.

The “Dark Era” in esports vetting

The past decade also saw the professionalization and commercialization of competitive esports. gaming companies, PC hardware vendors, and online streaming platforms are just among the many players in the industry that were quick to grab a share of the esports market. These players were keen to tap into this lucrative market.

As the numbers increased, there were real concerns about the social and health costs of the esports industry. While a few pro players enjoying big amounts of money were at the top of the pyramid, there was a growing concern about the sustainability of these careers. Also, there were increasing cases of internet gaming addiction and a host of other related incidences, including daylight robbery.

History of esports betting in China
Esports nowadays in China

Esports nowadays in China

Post-2019 is regarded as the turning point of esports gambling in China. This was when the Chinese government relaxed some of the controls it had set on online esports gaming. The key development was that non-Chinese game developers were officially allowed to distribute their content through formally recognized vendors.

NetEase, Tencent, and Perfect World were the leading distributors at the time. NetEase had the right to distribute esports titles like Overwatch, Minecraft, StarCraft II, and other popular titles. The other developers also had their fair share of esports titles. As the Chinese government collected funds from developers, distributors, and taxes, it invested heavily in local gaming companies. Notably, the government was also keen to address societal perceptions towards gaming, which was instrumental in catapulting the industry to success.

China's gaming industry is undoubtedly set to reach new heights. In 2020, China's gaming industry gross sales rose by a massive 20%.
According to statista.com, the market value of this industry is projected to reach 215.7 billion Yuan. Besides the potential shown by the Chinese market, the industry is still struggling with all manner of legislative obstacles.

Esports nowadays in China
Future of esports betting in China

Future of esports betting in China

Undoubtedly, the esports industry shows a brought and promising future. No country today matches the Chinese as far as its commitment to esports is concerned. In light of this, China is undoubtedly positioned to be the esports center.

Foreign companies, including those from the West, are keen to tap into the potential shown by the Chinese market. And since the market and infrastructure needed are readily available, the question should not be about the opportunities but rather the best ways to seize them.

While China shows immense potential in esports gaming, the future of online esports betting is not great, with the country moving in a more restrictive direction.

Future of esports betting in China
Esports legislation in China

Esports legislation in China

Esports' roots in China go back to the late 1990s when popular titles such as "Counter-Strike" and "StarCraft" were introduced into the country. It only took a few years before the Chinese formed their first international esports team. And from 2013 to 2017, the esports industry was big business. This culminated in unprecedented growth that saw Chinese clubs dominate the League of Legends (LoL) championships in 2018 and 2019.

2021 saw both Mainland China enact a civil code, effective January of the same year. This code was designed to help courts better understand the esports industry's workings and the purpose of regulating this industry.

The Chinese government is keen to clamp gambling, seeing it lose its edge in esports events. New gaming regulations introduced in September 2021 stipulate that players below 18years can only play online for three hours a week and only an hour during Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and national holidays.

The new gambling laws also target online gaming operators who are prohibited from offering their services to minors. These new regulations are set to protect children, often the key players in this industry. The frequency of crackdowns is expected to increase to ensure that online gaming providers are fully compliant.

Esports legislation in China
Betting acts in China

Betting acts in China

Criminal Law

China's legal position as far as betting remains clear. Article 303 of the Criminal act stipulates that any Chinese national found guilty of engaging in any form of gambling risks a sentence shall be liable for a sentence of not more than three years imprisonment, criminal detention, a fine.

Instant Lottery Law

Under this law, instant lotteries are defined as gambling activities whose prizes are partially or fully fixed when tickets are issued. According to Law 12/87/M of August, the framework for sports betting operations are limited to basketball and soccer.

Ideally, the law and rules around gambling in China are strict. The values largely inform this hard stance of the communist regime, which lists gambling among three vices that destroy society. The government goes to great lengths to keep gambling away from the population. So, the hopes that China might relax gambling laws soon remain quite slim, if any.

Betting acts in China
China's players favorite games

China's players favorite games

The Chinese eSports industry shows immense potential. However, as the industry blossoms, some standout challenges have curtailed China's eSports potential. Nonetheless, the industry enjoys a booming audience. Here is a list of some of the most popular games in China.

  • Dota 2: This esports game stands out for having the most professional teams in the country. Better yet, it is among the highest-grossing games in terms of prize money won by both players and teams.
  • Overwatch: Chinese esports players have a special attraction to this first-person shooter game played in teams of six. While Overwatch players second fiddle to Dota 2 in terms of the number of professional teams, it has the most number of professional players in China compared to any other esports game.
  • League of Legends: Another standout game among Chinese eSports gamers. While it might not be the most played game, it could soon be getting there, especially after the Chinese team won the Championships for two consecutive years.
  • Counter-Strike Global Offensive (CS: GO) : CS: GO has seen an explosion in numbers ever over the years. In light of this, China accounts for more than 20% of the global player base.
China's players favorite games
Payment methods in China

Payment methods in China

Chinese punters access various payment methods. However, most payment methods utilized locally are also available in offshore casinos. Offshore casinos that accept Chinese nationals offer the following methods:

UnionPay

UnionPay is a Chinese payment provider that bears a close resemblance to regular debit and credit cards. Users can load funds into their bank account linked to their UnionPay card and use them online.

E-Wallets

Players from china find e-wallets particularly appealing while making deposits into their online casino accounts. The best part about popular e-wallets like PayPal is that they are easy to use and rapid.

Pre-Paid Vouchers

Pre-Paid vouchers are also increasingly becoming popular in China. While these vouchers are known to take relatively more time to process, they also increase anonymity, ensuring that your tracks remain covered.

Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies are the epitome of anonymity in the online world. Chinese punters are increasingly turning to cryptocurrencies as a way of remaining anonymous. Bitcoins (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) are some crypto options in the Chinese gaming landscape.

As far as making payments at online casinos, the best payment methods should allow you to deposit/withdraw funds without exposing your identity.

Payment methods in China
FAQs about gambling in China

FAQs about gambling in China

Is Online Gambling Legal in China?

Simply, No! Chinese laws prohibit all forms of online gambling. However, Chinese punters can always find ways to bypass restrictions set by the authorities and players wagers through offshore casinos that accept players from China.

Do Chinese Bet on Lotteries

Yes. Lottery betting is allowed in China. Two official lotteries are operating in China: the Welfare Lottery and Sports Lottery were launched in 1987 and 1994, respectively. These lotteries are played in two-thirds of the country's provinces.

Is Esports Betting Legal in China

Like other forms of gambling, eSports betting is strongly forbidden in China. However, two regions are not under Chinese Law, Macau and Hong Kong. Therefore, bettors are free to explore the world of eSports betting while in these two regions.

Do Top Offshore Gambling Sites Offer Support in Chinese?

Customer support is often a point of interest when gambling online. Many, but not all, online casinos provide Chinese support. Therefore, Chinese punters should be keen to explore sites that offer top-notch services, preferably in their native language.

Do Offshore Casinos Provide Bonuses to Chinese Players?

Yes. Players from China can always enjoy incentives provided by casino operators provided they play at top online casinos that accept players from this country.

FAQs about gambling in China

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