China’s lottery sales rose nearly 10% in the first quarter of 2018, primarily on the strength of the sports lottery product.
Figures released Tuesday by China’s Ministry of Finance show total lottery sales of RMB40b (US$6.3b) in the month of March, a nearly 6% rise over the same month last year. The gains pushed the first quarter’s total sales up 9.4% year-on-year to RMB104.2b ($16.5b).
The sports lottery drove Q1’s sales, rising 18.3% year-on-year to RMB51.9b, while the welfare lottery just managed to maintain its market dominance despite rising a mere 1.8% to RMB52.2b. The sports lottery is expected to surge even higher once the 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off this June, much as the sports lottery surged dramatically during the 2014 event and the Euro 2016 tourney.
CHINA’S FIRST SPORTS BETTING PODCAST
As further evidence of the sports lottery’s growing popularity, Beijing-based sports lottery and paid news app firm Catjc recently teamed with Shanghai-based podcast hosting firm Ximalaya to launch China’s first ever daily podcast centered on sports betting.
The ‘Sports Lottery Radio’ show runs four hours per night, offering betting insights from a variety of pundits, some of whom use their real names, while others hide behind a variety of pseudonyms, including Moral Brother, Lion King, the somewhat pejoratively named Once Prosperous and something or other called ‘Betfair’ run by “several senior players at home and abroad.”
CHINA VANGUARD INK HAINAN SPORTS LOTTERY DEAL
In related news, lottery technology supplier China Vanguard You Champion Holdings Ltd (formerly known as China Vanguard Group) announced last week that it had inked a five-year cooperation agreement with the Hainan Huan Yu Assets Investment Company Ltd to “jointly explore the development direction of Hainan Internet Plus sports and lottery.”
In 2016, China Vanguard inked a deal with the Hainan Sports Lottery Administration Center to provide hardware and software for interactive marketing purposes. However, that deal appeared predicated on the belief that the authorities in Beijing would soon lift the ‘temporary’ suspension of online lottery sales that was imposed in March 2015 after uncovering evidence of widespread fraud at provincial lottery administrators involving online lottery proceeds.
While Beijing still hasn’t offered any concrete assurances that it intends to lift the now three-year online lottery ban anytime soon, the authorities did recently announce plans to authorize “the development of sports lottery and instant lottery on large-scale international games” on the island province of Hainan.
China Vanguard’s Hainan announcement came just days after Beijing’s announcement, suggesting the company is at least operating on surer footing this time around.