Betting Law & Sites In China: Legal or Illegal?

Last Updated: April 12, 2021

Online Gambling ChinaChina currently has one of the harshest stances on gambling of any country in the world. The current situation makes gambling and online gambling illegal but that doesn’t stop residents.

All online gambling is supplied by overseas providers who use various different tricks and tactics to get around the Chinese government blocking them. The best betting site for Chinese customers is listed below although others are available.

It’s best to use some form of e-wallet, not connected to your bank account, if you’re living in China and planning to sign up and gamble online. Regardless of the fact it’s illegal many people still choose to do it.

Key Facts: Online Gambling In China

  • State sponsored Welfare Lottery and Sports Lottery technically legal.
  • All other forms of gambling illegal.
  • Residents have faced punishments for gambling online, although not severe.
  • Government attempt to block websites of all overseas providers.
  • Operators constantly change URL or site so Chinese people can still access.

Best Chinese Betting Site:

Accepting players from China
T&C's apply, 18+,

Gambling Laws In China: Legal or Illegal?

In its current guise, the Chinese state was established in 1949 and as such the story of Chinese gambling legislation also essentially starts there. The following timeline details the major landmarks in legislation which have shaped the Chinese gambling industry in the ensuing seven decades:

1949 – Blanket Ban

The People’s Republic of China was established under the leadership of Mao Zedong in 1949. Zedong considered gambling to be one of the greatest ills of a socialist society and imposed a blanket ban on all such activities.

1957 – Re-Education Through Labour Program

It was in 1957 that the Chinese state’s ‘re-education through labour program’ which to this day is still used to punish some gambling offences was established. The sentencing under that program is undertaken by a special committee under police authority and success in appealing any sentence laid down is almost unheard of.

1987 – China Welfare Lottery

China Welfare LotteryFollowing Mao Zedong’s death in 1976, some of his more restrictive policies began to be slowly relaxed.

This eventually led to the establishment of the China Welfare Lottery in 1987 as the first form of legalised gambling in the country.

1994 – China Sports Lottery

China Sports LotterySome seven years after the establishment of the Welfare Lottery, China’s Sports Lottery Administration Centre was set up.

This organisation offered the first legalised sports betting within China and to this day still operates as a state sponsored monopoly in that area.

1997 – Article 303 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China

In 1997 there was a revision of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, which included Article 303 as follows;

Whoever, for the purpose of profit, gathers people to engage in gambling, runs a gambling house or makes gambling his profession shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than three years, criminal detention or public surveillance and shall also be fined.

Whilst that article seems to place the focus solely upon professional gambling, Chinese authorities do still routinely pursue casual gamblers. Where this is less apparent – but still by no means untrue – is in the case of online gambling where providers are certainly more actively targeted than users.

Tax On Winnings?

Gambling TaxAs we have described in detail above, the vast majority of gambling is illegal in China. As such, the only forms of gambling which could be subject to taxation are those offered by the two state sponsored lotteries.

When it does come to those lotteries, winnings worth less than RMB 10,000 are not subject to taxation, whereas winnings above that threshold are subject to a flat rate of 20% income tax.

Any winnings from offshore gambling sites are essentially tax free.

Deposit Methods: What Works?

Deposit OptionsOnline gambling is illegal in China and there are no Chinese based providers who are sanctioned by the Chinese government. Overseas providers, too, are routinely blocked by Chinese authorities and citizens using them can be punished through the country’s ‘re-education through labour program’.

Huge numbers of Chinese citizens, however, do still gamble online and a great many of the world’s biggest online providers do still cater for the Chinese market.

When it comes to depositing to these sites, therefore, Chinese punters tend to prefer methods which provide a kind of shield between the site and their bank account. Some e-wallet services, for instance, often make it more difficult to determine where money is being deposited or where any withdrawals have come from.

However by far the easiest and most widely successful deposit is Unionpay.