China’s November lottery sales a case of up and down


China’s lottery market took both forward and backward steps in November, with the welfare lottery segment largely to blame for the backward movement. 

Figures released Thursday by China’s Ministry of Finance show nationwide lottery sales of RMB36b (US$5.5b) in November, a 17.2% rise from October’s total but a 4.6% decline from the same month last year, showing that the market has a long way to go to erase the array of negativity the market faced in 2020. 

November’s sports lottery sales were essentially flat year-on-year, falling only 0.2% to RMB21b, although that was RMB2.6b better than October’s tally. November’s welfare lottery sales slid 10.1% year-on-year to RMB15b, although this too was up from October’s RMB12.3b. 

For the year-to-date, overall lottery sales are down 22% to RMB297.4b, with sports down 19.4% to RMB168.2b and welfare falling 25% to RMB129.2b. While overall sales enjoyed positive growth in 14 provinces in November, sales over the first 11 months of 2020 were down in 29 Chinese provinces. 

November was the first month in which Chinese provincial lottery administration centers were ordered to restrict sales of ‘high-frequency’ (sports) and ‘quick-opening’ (welfare) lottery products to a single quick-draw product. The changes, which are intended to minimize excessive lottery play, will see the elimination of all such products by the end of the 2021 Spring Festival holiday on February 17. 

Speaking of, the Ministry of Finance announced earlier this month that the annual lottery suspension of sales during the Festival will officially get underway at midnight on February 9 and will extend through midnight on the 18th. The only lottery products that can be sold during this period are instant tickets. 

In related news, Hong Kong-listed lottery tech outfit AGTech Holdings Ltd announced last week that it had won procurement tenders to supply sports terminals to lottery administrators in Guizhou, Hubei and Shaanxi provinces. Since AGTech is a main supplier of those aforementioned ‘high-frequency’ sports lottery products (e-Ball virtual football and Lucky Racing Formula 1), news of a new revenue stream will be welcomed by AGTech shareholders.