China’s lottery sales took another double-digit dive in September, with both welfare and sports lotteries reporting declining revenue.
Figures released Thursday by China’s Ministry of Finance show total lottery sales of RMB36.4b (US$5.2b) in September, a 13% decline from the same month last year. This is the eighth consecutive month of year-on-year declines, although September’s sales were RMB2.3b higher than August’s total and showed a slower rate of decline than August’s 18.5%.
Any euphoria will be short-lived, as the government ordered the temporary suspension of lottery sales in the first week of October in honor of the annual National Day celebrations on October 1. That said, not all provincial lottery administrators appeared to be taking this order all that seriously, so check back in another month to see how bad the bleeding looks.
September’s sports lottery sales were down 13.8% to RMB 20.7b, while welfare lottery sales fell 12% to RMB15.7b. For the year-to-date, total sales are off 17.7% to RMB315.8b, with sports down 20.8% to RMB172.8b and welfare falling 13.4% to RMB143.1b.
China’s lottery sales are now entirely land-based, following the government-ordered ‘temporary’ suspension of online sales that has now been in place for four and a half years. Beijing brought the online hammer down after uncovering rampant fraud by provincial lottery administrators who weren’t reporting all online sales.
Shenzhen-based 500.com, which had been one of only two companies officially approved to offer online lottery sales, recently proposed a “blockchain solution specifically tailored to China’s lottery industry.” The proposal promised to help “reduce lottery theft and fraud” but Beijing has yet to publicly respond to 500.com’s blockchain overtures.
China’s government recently touted the public benefits of its state-run lottery program, including the fact that over 810k people had benefited from funds diverted from welfare lottery sales to the China Legal Aid Foundation.