China places a nationwide ban on gambling with one exception: the lottery. While Chinese lotteries come in a few different forms, by far the most popular are the state-run China Welfare Lottery and the China Sports Lottery. These two operators run several types of lotteries in China, including scratcher tickets and some instant online variations, but the traditional Powerball-style lottery is still the most popular. They are the only legal gambling operators in mainland China.
Almost every year since it’s establishment in 1987, the Welfare Lottery has brought in more revenue than the previous year. In 2014, the Ministry of Finance reported it sold 382 billion RMB (about US$60 billion) worth of lottery tickets. The money that isn’t put towards overhead and prizes goes to social welfare programs and building community sports facilities, respectively.
Today, it’s possible to play the lottery online and the old-school pen-and-paper way. This article will deal with the latter. Foreigners are allowed to play, so long as they have a legal passport and visa and are at least 18 years old.
How to Play
There are a few different ways to play, most of which cost just 2 Yuan to play. The China Welfare Lottery, or ShuangSeQiu (双色球), is similar to the Powerball in the US. Pick six red numbers between one and 33, then one blue number between one and sixteen. The Mark 6, another popular option, requires you pick five numbers between one and 35, then two numbers between one and 12.
The prize pots for these lotteries often climb into the hundreds of millions of Yuan. For the Shuangseqiu, getting all the numbers perfect--assuming you’re the only one--will land you 70 percent of the jackpot. Getting six red numbers out of seven right earns you 30 percent. Five correct reds and one blue will win you 3,000 Yuan, four reds plus a blue for 200 Yuan, three reds plus a blue for 10 Yuan, and just getting the blue right will nab you 5 Yuan.
The Mark 6 lottery works in a fairly similar manner as the Shuangseqiu, with seven divisions of prizes available. The chances of winning the jackpot are about 14 million to one. If no one wins, most of the money is rolled over to raise the jackpot - a minimum of about 5 million Yuan. Some of it is put into a “Snowball pool”, which is a special holiday lottery played on public holidays.
To play in the old-fashioned way, head to any of the many lottery vendors that line China’s streets. Just walk in and buy one, and pick your numbers. If you win, return the ticket to where you bought it. Small prizes are paid by the local merchant, but jackpots and other big amounts are paid by central lottery offices. Be sure to bring your passport.
To check the numbers, head to this Netease website. Your ticket should have a reference number on it that corresponds with the date. Use the dropdown menus to choose the appropriate lottery and reference number. Here you can view the payouts for each winning division and the numbers drawn for each day.
Be wary of scams. It’s better to buy tickets from brick-and-mortar shops than from street vendors. Don’t be like this Jiangxi man who attempted to hunt down the makers of a counterfeit scratch-off ticket.
Sports fans can put their knowledge and luck to the test with China’s sports lotteries. Check out our previous article on how to bet on NBA and soccer games. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the next lucky expat like this German guy who won 647,000 Yuan betting on football.
Taobao, QQ, and WeChat all used to allow users to play the Sports Lottery from their respective smartphone apps, but after a regulatory debacle with the country’s sports authority earlier this year, those services have been indefinitely suspended.
According to AGTech, China’s illegal gambling market is estimated to be worth 10 to 20 times that of the legal gambling market. As authorities attempt to convert illicit gamblers to legal options like the lottery, revenues and ergo jackpot amounts will continue to rise. The chances of winning remain the same, so there’s never been a better time to play!
China’s lottery market is second only to the United States.
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even if a foreigner did have the winning ticket, i dont think he/she would be allowed to have it. i dont think non-chinese nationals are allowed a payout. im fairly certain of this in thailand, so i would expect it to be the same here as well...
Nov 04, 2015 17:19 Report Abuse
Running a lottery is the second best money making scam. You can make crazy money from it. The only think that can make you more money is running a bank. Sadly governments run both of those here and a merciless to anyone who tries to get a slice of their pie.
Oct 27, 2015 08:24 Report Abuse