China’s lottery players may not be able to purchase tickets online, but at least they no longer have to traipse down to the shops to scratch their lottery itch thanks to a new joint venture.
In April, Hong Kong-based lottery technology supplier AGTech Holdings announced a joint venture with Shenzhen-based SF Express Co Ltd, a leading courier delivery business. On Tuesday, the partners’ SF Lottery venture launched their new SF-Themed Instant Scratch Lottery product.
The product is unique in that customers receiving a parcel via an SF courier can purchase tickets directly from the courier. Customers can also place bulk orders for the SF tickets and have them couriered directly to their residence.
Even better, prizes can be redeemed by using the SF Financial app to scan the ticket’s QR code, sparing winners the long trek down to the closest lottery office. The hope is that the more easily accessible product will expand the potential market for instant scratch tickets, which accounted for RMB 28.5b (US $4.2b) in sales in 2016.
The new SF scratch product was developed in cooperation with China’s National Sports Lottery Administration Center. Tickets cost anywhere from RMB 1-20 (15¢-$3) and offer top prizes of RMB 10k-1m ($1,500-$150k).
The SF scratchers are currently available only in Guangdong, Jiangsu, Hunan and Jiangxi provinces, but the first two provinces ranked first and second in terms of sports lottery sales last year. AGTech’s chief operating officer Jimmy Bai told the South China Morning Post that the company hopes to expand the pilot program to the rest of China by the end of the year.
The joint venture followed AGTech’s acquisition by an affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group in March 2016. Alibaba’s Taobao.com platform used to offer online lottery sales before Beijing ordered the ‘temporary’ shutdown of online sales in March 2015 due to rampant corruption at provincial lottery administration centers.