Offline sales of lottery products in China just got a little boost. New regulations that will go into effect starting October 1 will make it easier for an entity to receive authorization for the products; however, there is still some ambiguity surrounding one aspect of the official lottery, GGRAsia reported. Since 2015, online sales have been banned in the country, and there remains the question of whether or not this ban will be lifted.
In spite of the ban, the total sales of lottery products in mainland China are almost double those of Macau’s annual gaming sales. In 2017, lottery sales bumped up 8.1% from the previous year, bringing in a total of $62.4 million. During the same period, gross gaming revenue in Macau jumped a huge 19.1%, but it was still only a little more than half the sales of lottery products at $32.9 billion.
The new lottery rules, which were just published on Monday, said that any online sales of sports lottery or welfare lottery tickets are still illegal. However, according to the founder of Chinese lottery think tank Chian Lottery Industry Salon, Su Guojing, “For lottery issuance institutions, [up to now] they had to seek approval from their respective provincial department of finance and department of civil affairs whenever they wanted to put forward special promotions or offer new prizes for their lottery products, especially during holiday times like the National Day break or Chinese New Year. But now with the amended rules, they don’t need to do that anymore.”
Shanghai Normal University professor Li Gang indicated that a significant update of the new regulations is that provincial-level authorized entities that operate the lottery can commission tests that would provide a technical review of the lottery products. He added, “Before, these institutions have had to commission test work whenever they wanted to launch new lottery products or change the products.”
Li also asserted, “Another important change that comes with the amended regulations is that in the last article, it specifies all of the other laws that can apply to penalise government departments—and those officials responsible for regulating the lottery market—if they fail to do their job.”
Both individuals pointed out that more central government entities are now engaged in monitoring the lottery market than ever. Last August, a statement by the country’s Ministry of Finance regarding lottery operations was endorsed by 11 different government departments.
Explained Su, “That August statement basically spells out that now the Chinese authorities have a more specific division of work when it comes to monitoring the lottery market. For instance, the Cyberspace Administration will be cleaning up information online that is related to illegal [lottery] sales; and the banking regulator will be responsible to deal with those that provide settlement services for any illegal online [lottery] sales platform.”