The growing influence of cashed up Chinese investors on the world of football has seen a huge surge in football betting across China, with messaging app WeChat having restricted thousands of user accounts during the current Euro 2016 championships in France.
A weekend report by Reuters claimed that illegal online gambling was a growing problem on the mainland, with tech giants Tencent and Alibaba forced to crack down in betting activity on their respective apps. WeChat alone has put limits on more than 8,000 WeChat groups as well as limiting payment to 6,000 individual accounts.
China’s Public Security Ministry said yesterday that it had detained 236 people in four provinces for illegal betting on Euro 2016 while Guangdong police arrested 147 people in one bust last week.
The surge in interest has been put down to China’s significant investment in football around the world, including buying shares in European clubs as well as luring stars to play in the Chinese Super League on multi-million dollar deals.