China lottery sales up 28% in August; Shanghai begs winner to call hotline

china-sports-lotteryChina’s lottery revenue rose by more than a quarter in August despite sports lottery sales retreating from two months of record highs thanks to 2014 FIFA World Cup betting. Figures released Wednesday by the Ministry of Finance show China’s overall lottery sales topped RMB 31.5b (US $5.1b), up 28.1% year-on-year but down 15.3% from July’s highs.

Oddly, sales in China’s capital Beijing fell 13% year-on-year, while all other major centers in the country reported sales gains of at least 5%. The Ministry offered no possible explanation for the phenomenon, so just for fun, let’s blame it on Obamacare.

Despite the absence of a major international football tournament, the mid-month commencement of another English Premier League season helped push August’s sports lottery sales up 37% to RMB 14.5b ($2.4b), although that figure is down 26.6% from July. The end of the World Cup allowed welfare lottery sales to resume their traditional place as top earner with RMB 17b, up 21.4% over August 2013 and down just RMB 400m from July 2014.

For the year to date, overall lottery sales are up 24.4% to RMB 247b ($40.2b). Sports lottery sales accounted for RMB 114.2b of that total, up 34% over the same period last year. For all of 2013, China’s lotteries generated RMB 309.3b, an 18.3% improvement over 2012’s tally.

Meanwhile, the Shanghai Welfare Lottery Center is pleading with a lottery winner to step forward and identify his or her self before it’s too late. The unknown winner is holding a ticket worth RMB 7.3m ($1.2m) drawn on July 24 but unless the prize is claimed by this Sunday (21), lottery rules stipulate that the money has to go into the social welfare fund. Lottery officials have gone as far as to open a hotline in the hopes that the jackpot winner won’t go unrewarded. The biggest unclaimed jackpot in the Shanghai lottery’s history was a RMB 10m prize in 2011.