The 2014 FIFA World Cup helped spur an 83% year-on-year rise in sales of China’s sports lottery last month, according to figures released this week by the country’s Ministry of Finance. Sports lottery sales topped RMB 19.24b (US $3.1b) in June, while Welfare Lottery sales enjoyed a comparatively small 18.1% rise to RMB 16.8b. Through the first half of 2014, China’s overall lottery sales came to RMB 178.8b ($28.8b), up 19.2% from the same period last year. The sports lottery accounted for RMB 79.9b of this total, an increase of 24.1% year-on-year.
Beijing-based lottery consultancy Caitong says sports lottery sales for the duration of the entire World Cup amounted to RMB 12.9b ($2.1b), which would be over five times the sum generated by the 2010 tournament. Caitong co-president Li Jian told the Global Times that as much as 70% of this year’s sports lottery World Cup sales were conducted online. Shenzhen-based 500.com, one of only two officially licensed online lottery merchants in China, reported a tenfold increase in the number of new customer registrations during the month-long betting frenzy.
In Taiwan, the official sports lottery reported total World Cup sales of NT 2.4b ($80m), around three times the amount generated by the 2010 tournament. Sunday’s Germany v. Argentina final alone generated sales of NT 430m ($14.3m), a new single-match record. But that match left a sour taste with most punters, over 70% of which had bet on Germany to win in regular time, while 20% had backed Argentina. All of those wagers were for naught when the match went into extra time, while just 10% who wagered on a regular time draw collected. One lucky punter reportedly collected NT 238k ($8k) after wagering NT 70k ($2,300) on a draw.
Finally, we hadn’t heard much from Japan regarding World Cup wagering crackdowns, but better late than never. On Monday, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported that police in Ehime Prefecture in southern Japan had arrested an alleged Yakuza member and three other suspects accused of offering World Cup wagers during a 10-day period immediately preceding the tournament. But the alleged member of the Yamaguchi-gumi gang wasn’t exactly dealing with high-rolling clientele, reportedly taking wagers as low at ¥1k ($10). Hopefully, his arrest won’t require him to submit himself to ritual yubitsume to appease his crime bosses, as one would hate to lose part of a finger over what amounts to getting caught selling illegal raffle tickets.