Basketball joins soccer on gambling rolls

Updated: March 23, 2005, 3:34 PM ET

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.