Did 19th century China have betting markets on individual performance?

I ran across this intriguing passage:

The Chinese also rejected the telegraph at first, partly because of similar feng shui concerns, but mostly because they didn’t believe such an invention had any real benefits.  But once they learned that some wily Cantonese (a persistent regional Chinese stereotype) had enriched themselves by hearing the results of the triennial imperial exam in Beijing via telegraph weeks before everyone else, and then buying all the lottery tickets with the names of the top graduates, opposition to the telegraph crumbled.

No further information on those markets is offered, do any of you know more about this?  The passage is from Huan Hsu’s new and noteworthy The Porcelain Thief: Searching the Middle Kingdom for Buried China.  It’s not so much a book about porcelain, rather it is an excellent look at China and also the idea of a quest to discover one’s family history, recommended.


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