Taiwan’s sports lottery enjoyed record sales in 2018, in part because local authorities keep disrupting unauthorized online gambling competitors.
Last month, the Taiwan Sports Lottery Co released its official statistics for 2018, during which sales topped NT$43.6b (US$1.41b). That’s not only a 32% rise from 2017’s result but marks the first time annual sports lottery sales topped the NT$40b mark.
The 2018 figures got a boost from last summer’s FIFA World Cup, which lottery president Lin Po-tai estimated contributed an extra NT$7.05b in sales. August’s Asian Games in Indonesia added another NT$950m.
Thanks to the World Cup, football accounted for over 30% of 2018’s lottery sales, while baseball and basketball contributed 25% apiece and tennis claimed a 10% share.
There are no marquee sports events on the schedule for 2019 but Lin says the lottery expects this year’s sales to also top the NT$40b mark. The lottery recently added volleyball games to its product repertoire, and will be offering some 40k games on which to wager throughout the year.
The sports lottery’s strong showing wasn’t matched by the Taiwan Lottery Co’s Grand Lottery and Power Lottery products. As a result, Taiwan’s overall lottery sales for 2018 came in at NT$110.5b. That marks the seventh straight year in which overall sales topped NT$100b, but it represents a 7.6% decline from 2017 and the lowest sales total in six years.
Taiwan Lottery Co chairman Hsueh Hsiang-chuan vowed to introduce new lottery products in a bid to stop the sales slide. Last month, the lottery announced that it was boosting prize totals by NT$800m over the Lunar New Year period in a bid to spur greater traffic to lottery retailers.
‘ONLINE POINTS’ GAMBLING SITE RUMBLED
The lottery operators are getting help from local authorities, who announced the bust of a major illegal online gambling operation over the weekend following a tipoff about shady dealings at three locations in Kaohsiung City.
Focus Taiwan reported that 10 people were detained for allegedly running an illegal gambling site that took in NT$250m in wagers since last October, netting the operators a profit of NT$47.7m. Police seized 18 phones, 36 computers and other electronic devices, along with NT$623k in cash.
Police said the operation was professionally run, designating individuals to handle specific tasks such as promotion and customer service. Customers were solicited via social media platforms and payments were handled through a third-party channel offering ‘online points’ with which to gamble on the site.