On Friday, the UK-listed DJI announced that its Qingdao Baifa Network Science Technology Service Co Ltd joint venture had been given the nod to launch the mobile app in Qingdao City. Assuming there are no glitches, DJI hopes to get the nod to expand the app’s reach to the rest of the province in short order.
The app offers players access to a variety of sports lottery games, including Big Lotto, the nation’s most popular sports lottery draw game, plus sports betting games Jingcai and Zucai, as well as 10 different digital scratch cards. DJI says the app is expected to contribute to the company’s revenue in the month of October.
Chinese authorities enforced a temporary suspension of online lottery sales at the end of February, following an investigation that exposed widespread corruption among provincial lottery administrators. The suspension had a noticeable effect on lottery operators’ financial reports, including DJI, whose H1 revenue fell nearly 36% year-on-year. The government has yet to indicate when the ‘temporary’ suspension will be lifted.
DJI CEO Darren Mercer said football-based online sports lottery sales had been growing “in excess of 200% year-on-year” prior to the online suspension. Mercer believes the new mobile app provides DJI with “an opportunity to recommence sales in a new area and utilize our unique soccer club resources [including its pioneering marketing partnership with English Premier League club Arsenal] and sales channel partners to maximize this opportunity.”
Qingdao is a city of 9m people, while Shandong province’s population is over 90m and is responsible for 10% of China’s total sports lottery sales. Mercer said a full rollout across the province would “quickly generate significant lottery revenues.”