Lottery business in mainland China remained robust in the first half of 2018, with sales climbing 19.6 percent.
China’s Ministry of Finance announced that mainland lottery sales grew to CNY245.2 billion (US$36.0 billion) in the January to June 2018 period from the CNY205 billion ($30.28 billion) sales registered in the same period last year.
The biggest sales came from the sports lottery, which jumped 36.1 percent to more than CNY134.6 billion ($19.88 billion) compared with CNY98.9billion ($14.61 billion) in H1 2017.
Welfare lottery sales stood at CNY110.6 billion ($16.34 billion) in H1 2018, up 4.2 percent year-on-year.
China’s Ministry of Finance noted that H1 lottery sales were boosted by the FIFA World Cup, which was held between June 14 and July 15. June’s lottery sales skyrocketed by 73.2 percent year-on-year to CNY58.6 billion ($8.66 billion).
June’s sports lottery sales were CNY39.5 billion, more than double the same period last year, while welfare lottery sales picked up 7.1 percent to CNY19.1 billion ($2.82 billion).
Guangdong remained the biggest lottery market in China, with H1 sales rising 15.8 percent to CNY23 billion ($3.4 billion). Trailing Guangdong was Jiangsu province, which saw a 28.2 percent increase in sales to CNY20.9 billion ($3.1 billion).
The third biggest Chinese lottery market was the eastern province of Shandong, which posted total lottery ticket sales of CNY18.6 billion ($2.75 billion) in H1.
500.com eyes casino in Okinawa
In other Chinese lottery news, Shenzhen-based online sports lottery service provider 500.com laid out its plans for a $2.7 billion integrated resort in Okinawa, Japan.
The Ryuku Shimpo reported that 500.com CEO Zhengming Pan and Les Ambassadeurs Club CEO Kevin McGowern were in Okinawa, Japan over the weekend to pitch local business executives and political leaders on their casino venture.
The gaming executives shared their vision of a high-end integrated resort “compatible with Okinawa’s history and tradition,” if their consortium was granted a casino license.
Gaming observers expect 500.com to face an uphill climb in convincing Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga, who had earlier expressed his opposition to integrated resorts. The only silver lining for 500.com is that Onaga is up for re-election in November.