China’s lottery sales fell for a fifth straight month in July, falling 40.7 percent year on year, official statistics showed. The drastic fall in lottery sales last month was largely due to a high comparison base, as the 21st FIFA World Cup drove up sales of sports lottery last year.
China’s Ministry of Finance released the data on Friday show total lottery sales of RMB32.4b (US$4.53b) in the month of July, a 40.1% waning from the same month last year 2018. From January 2019 to July 2019, lottery sales are lowered 18.2% to RMB54.5b.
The sports lottery accounted for much of the plunge, with July’s sales down 50.2% year-on-year to RMB17.7b, reflecting the gains that the latter stages of the FIFA World Cup brought to July 2018’s figures. For the year-to-date, sports lottery sales are lowered from 22.1% to RMB132.5b.
The welfare lottery didn’t fare much better in July, as its sales slid 21.3% to RMB15b, allowing the sports lottery to hold the dominant position it has held since April 2018. Year-to-date welfare lottery sales are down 13% to RMB112.8b.
Generally this is the point where we highlight that lifting China’s four-years-and-counting ‘temporary’ suspension of online sales could provide the increase which the lottery sector needs to return to positive growth. But Beijing appears nowhere near ready to take that step, especially given its recent changes to blackout all external sources of online gambling currently available to Chinese supporters.
In Zhejiang province police had arrested 36 individuals suspected of running an illegal online gambling ring , China’s state-run Xinhua news service announced Friday. The police reportedly launched operations in September 18 and signed up an astonishing 810k customers by helping their products on the WeChat social networking app.
Police got a tip in December 2018 and launched immediate raids on several locations in the cities of Chongqing, Shenzhen and Chengdu on May 15. Sina.com reported that the ring, which operated under the ‘Emperor Entertainment’ brand, handled wagers worth RMB542m ($76m) and grasped profits of RMB118m before their doors were kicked in. The mastermind of the ring was reportedly a 32-year-old with only a junior high school education. Stay in school, kids.
Under China’s lottery management rules, money from lottery ticket sales is used for administrative expenses, public welfare projects and prize money.