China lottery sales up 36%; Singapore lottery players pay tribute to founder

singapore-lee-kuan-yewChina’s lottery sales rose 24% in February, according to stats released this week by the Ministry of Finance.

Total lottery sales for the month hit RMB 24.8b (US $4b). Welfare lottery sales rose 10.7% to RMB 13b while sports lottery sales leaped 42.7% to RMB 11.8b. For January and February combined, sales are up 35.8% over the same period last year.

While the year-on-year gains are impressive, the figures for March will make for interesting reading. As of March 1, provincial lottery administration centers were ordered to suspend online sales after Beijing determined that some unscrupulous lottery agents weren’t reporting all sales. The ‘temporary’ suspension led to a precipitous drop in the share price of online-focused lottery operator

Hong Kong-listed lottery technology supplier China LotSynergy Holdings says its 2014 sales rose more than one-third to HKD 1.03b ($132.8m) thanks to China setting another new lottery record last year. China LotSynergy profits rose 12.9% to HKD 100m.

China LotSynergy claims to be the exclusive terminal equipment provider for the Welfare Lottery’s video lottery terminals business, reportedly the fastest growing consumer product category of the Welfare Lottery’s operations. China LotSynergy also provides computer ticket games and high frequency lottery products.

Singapore’s founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew (pictured) died on Monday at the age of 91. A state funeral is planned for March 29 but the city-state’s lottery players have found other ways to pay tribute to their founding father.

Agence France Press reported that Singapore Pools’ four-digit lottery business has been flooded with requests for tickets using various combinations associated with Lee, including the exact time of his death (03:18), his date of birth (16/09/23) and death (03/23/2015), even the license plate number (8898) of the hearse that carried his body to the place where it currently lies in state.

The most popular combinations have already sold out at Singapore Pools, the city-state’s only authorized lottery vendor, leaving punters scrambling for alternative numbers. More adventurous punters have sought out unsanctioned operators, who offer higher rates of return than state-sanctioned options.