China Vanguard Group, a company that provides services to the Chinese lottery market, saw its revenues fall by as much as 92 percent in the first three months of 2016, thanks to China’s industry-wide suspension of online lottery sales.
The Hong Kong-listed company reported a revenue of HK$4.34 million (US$559,000) for the first quarter of the year, down from HK$55.13 million (US$7.1 million) in the same period last year. Unaudited revenue for the nine months until March 31 also plummeted by 79.2 percent from HK$122.4 million (US$15.76 million) in 2014 to HK$25.5 million (US$3.28 million).
China Vanguard chalked up the huge drop in its revenue to its voluntary suspension of part of its self-service lottery operations following Beijing’s ongoing suspension of online lottery sales.
In a filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the company said, “On the eve of an official policy framework from the Central government that would allow the online distribution of Internet lottery, most lottery administrative offices have opted to adhere to the strictest guidelines according to the latest official commentaries and acting on a more conservative approach, that is the traditional approach through the over-the-counter paper lottery ticket distribution. Thus the Group’s has voluntarily suspended part of the self-service lottery operations.”
But China Vanguard made it clear that its management is already “closely working with regulatory authorities in seeking for clarity in future self-service lottery business development.”
Beijing “temporarily” suspended online lottery sales in mainland China in March last year as part of the government’s efforts to curb unauthorized online lottery operators and to make sure that funds raised via the lottery aren’t being misused. The suspension, however, dragged down China’s overall lottery sales.
In April, reports surfaced that Beijing authorities is already preparing to restart its online lottery operations, but only after the government crafts the necessary regulations. So far, only two companies—500.com and Sporterry.cn—are allowed to participate in an online pilot program.