China’s lottery sales fell for the sixth consecutive month in November, dragged down by the country’s increasing economic slowdown and the suspension of online lottery sales.
Figures released this week by the Ministry of Finance showed total lottery sales in November falling 10.2% to RMB 30.6b (US $4.6b). Welfare lottery sales fell 6.6% to RMB 17b while sports lottery sales were off 14.4% to RMB 13.6b. For the year-to-date, total sales are down 3.6% to RMB 333.8b ($50.6b).
While the decline can chiefly be blamed on China’s overall economic woes, the fall dovetailed with Beijing’s imposition of a suspension of online lottery sales last March. This ‘temporary’ suspension was sparked after an audit uncovered widespread financial malfeasance at provincial lottery administration offices.
Meanwhile, Friday saw China’s Ministry of Public Security (MPS) announce that it had detained 470 suspects for running a bogus online lottery operation that scammed an estimated RMB 200m ($32m) from over 1,000 victims.
In November, the MPS identified a Chinese-led ring conducting telecom fraud from hotel rooms in border towns in Laos. Working in cooperation with Lao police, MPS officers conducted a series of raids on Dec. 30, seizing 400 computers and 500 mobile phones.
On Friday, the MPS chartered four planes to ferry 300 suspects to Fujian province for processing. Police in Xishuangbanna in Yunnan province have been asked to handle the other 170 suspects.
The MPS said the bust was the largest of its kind since it launched a telecom fraud crackdown on Oct. 30. The MPS says the crackdown has resulted in 16,708 cases, the dismantling of 927 gangs and the detention of 5,825 suspects.