China Should Let Soccer Fans Gamble

Cracking down on bookies is a losing battle. Better to bring the business into the light.

Legalize it.

Photographer: Mike Clarke/AFP

China is mad for soccer, and the proof is with the bookies. In just the past month, police have seized tens of millions of dollars and arrested more than 500 people in crackdowns on gambling rings that surged in popularity during the UEFA European Championships. If they'd wanted to arrest more, they probably could have: China's illegal gambling industry is worth a staggering $600 billion annually, according to one estimate, making it by far the world's largest.

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