<
>

Basketball joins soccer on gambling rolls

SHANGHAI, China -- Participants were due to learn on Tuesday the results of China's first basketball lottery, which was launched in Shanghai following an increase in the sport's popularity since Yao Ming joined the Houston Rockets.

The results were set to be announced after the New York Knicks-San Antonio Spurs game.

The lottery will issue tickets three times a week for NBA
matches televised live in China every Sunday, Tuesday and
Thursday, the Shanghai Daily said.

Lottery players in Shanghai will only be able to make
predictions on the results of each of the four quarters, the sum
of both teams' final scores, and also their differences. Tickets
cost 2 yuan ($0.242) and prize money will depend on sales.

Soccer lotteries are a popular and legal way to bet on
sports in a country where most forms of gambling are illegal.

Shanghai-born Yao, 24, joined the Houston Rockets as top
draft choice in 2001 and his team beat the Sacramento Kings in
the first NBA game to played in China last October.