China govt. mulls domestic soccer lottery

China’s sports regulator says it is considering a lottery where fans can predict the outcome of the country’s domestic soccer leagues, Caixin reports.

In its plan for the 2016-20 period, China’s General Administration of Sport said it will “actively study promoting a soccer lottery in which Chinese domestic soccer leagues will be the object of guessing.”

There are two main domestic soccer leagues in China, the Chinese Super League and China League One.

Owners and operators of domestic soccer clubs said a lottery would be a positive introduction the industry, and could raise money that could go towards the development of sports in the country.

“A lottery for the Chinese Super League is great news for the sports industry,” said Lei Zhenjian, the CEO of LeTV Sports Culture Develop (Beijing) Co, a sponsor of the Beijing Guoan Football Club.

However, to offer lottery on domestic soccer also raises questions around its integrity.

Earlier this year, the Hong Kong Jockey Club announced it would not offer any bets on Chinese Super League matches given doubts about the competition’s integrity.

“During the match selection process, the club considers a number of important factors including information transparency, integrity and competitiveness of football matches,” a Hong Kong Jockey Club spokesperson said at the time.

Chinese football has also had trouble with corruption in the past. In 2013, twelve teams and 58 current and former officials, players and referees were punished for their involvement in match-fixing and bribery.