China’s state-run sports lottery shows little sign of losing the new customers it picked up during this year’s FIFA World Cup.
On Thursday, China’s Ministry of Finance announced that combined sports and welfare lottery sales totaled just over RMB41.8b (US$6b) in September, 13.3% higher than the same month last year and virtually unchanged from August 2018’s total.
The welfare lottery, which until recently was the dominant of the two officially state-approved gambling products, reported September sales of RMB17.8m, a fairly anemic 1.2% rise over September 2017’s figure. By contrast, September’s sports lottery sales surged 24.3% year-on-year to RMB24b.
The individual sports and welfare lottery stats were also virtually unchanged from August’s figure, and while the past two months’ sports lottery stats can’t hope to match the huge spikes in sales they enjoyed during June and July thanks to the World Cup, they’re still RMB2b higher than in April, the first month in which sports lottery sales surpassed the welfare lottery.
For the year-to-date, overall lottery sales are up 23.4% to RMB383.5b, with welfare sales up 4.2% to RMB165.3b and sports rising 43.4% to RMB218.2b. Of the 31 provinces and cities authorized by the government to sell lottery products, all but one reported 2018’s sales higher than at this point last year.
It’s incredible to think that the government in Beijing still won’t allow their citizens to purchase lottery tickets online. Next March, it will be four years since the government ordered a ‘temporary’ suspension of online sales due to unscrupulous lottery administrators failing to report the full tally of online sales. Fresh revelations of corrupt lottery bigwigs likely aren’t helping to convince the government that the time is right for another chance.