Sports lottery sales surge
China’s sports lottery developed rapidly last year thanks to increased enthusiasm for international sports events such as theWorld Cup in Brazil and the growing popularity of online betting,
According to theMinistry of Finance, sports lottery sales grew 32.8 percent year-onyear to 176.41 billion yuan ($28.38 billion), well ahead of industry expectations of 100 billion yuan, accounting for nearly half of China’s total lottery sales, which increased 23.6 percent from the previous year to 382.38 billion yuan. The number of people buying sports lottery tickets also increased.
“Large international sport events, including the World Cup, became major factors in boosting sales of lotteries, especially via the Internet,” said Xie Liang, a veteran sports commentator with Radio Guangdong.
Lotteries targeted at specific sports events or competitions also grew sharply by 81.7 percent year-on-year to 61.48 billion yuan. Growth of online lottery sales
The sports lottery was introduced to raise funds for the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing. Under the lottery management rules, after administrative fees and jackpot payments are made, the net proceeds go to public welfare projects.
“Sales of lotteries for the World Cup increased dramatically last year,” said Wang Huqing, a lottery store owner in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province.
“Many did not buy sports lottery tickets until theWorldCup began in June, but now more have become regular buyers since the event,” Wang said, predicting sales will continue an upward trend after China announced the introduction of more competitions, including those for soccer leagues inRussia, Chile andMexico.
According to CaiTong Consulting, a domestic lottery consulting firm, lottery sales for the Asian Cup, currently being held in Australia, reached nearly 2 billion yuan from Jan 12 to Jan 18, a new weekly record since theWorld Cup.
Online lottery sales also increased sharply last year, the figures showed, with a growing number of Internet service providers securing sharp revenue increases.
500.com Ltd, a New-York listed firm, for instance, saw net revenues increase 171.1 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of last year, according to company sources.
Insiders said uncertainties exist in the market as the authorities consider measures to regulate the industry.
The ministries of finance and civil affairs, along with the General Administration of Sport, recently issued a notice requiring local authorities to examine market practices, particularly online lottery sales by unauthorized operators.