China is going nuts for the European Championship, though it’s not just the football which is attracting a frenzy of fans. The country’s controversial grey market of online lotteries is once again booming.

The lottery sales for 36 group stage games in this year’s UEFA Championship reached 3.75 billion RMB (over $560 million USD), said local media, citing data from China’s National Lottery Center. At around 104 million sales per game, the total lottery revenue for the football event is expected to reach 5.3 billion RMB ($795 million USD).

Unlike Western lotteries, China’s lotteries are a little more diverse. While the China Welfare Lottery employs the familiar powerball and scratch-off ticket games, the highly-popular China Sports Lottery also allows fans to predict the outcome of major sports events for different return rates. The government maintains that it’s not gambling, which is technically banned in all forms on the Chinese mainland.

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Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.