The August figures are not good for China’s state-run lottery. Sales are down and are expected to continue to fall. The cause? The government is shutting down operations for a week.
Low and going lower
China’s Ministry of Finance reports total lottery sales of RMB34.1b (US$4.77b) for the month of August. This is a significant 18.5% decline from last year. In fact, year-to-date, lottery sales have fallen 18.2% to RMB279.4b.
It was also a negative month for sports lottery sales, down 19% year-on-year to RMB19.5b. In another sector, the welfare lottery was down 17.9% to RMB14.6b.
If you look at the figures to date, sports lottery sales are off 21.7% to RMB152b. It is depressing to see that the welfare lottery dropped13.6% to RMB127.4b. Only Sichuan province has enjoyed a sales rise in 2019.
It wasn’t always this bad. It seemed to get worse during the summer months. Perhaps the drop is due to last summer’s FIFA World Cup football tournament that generated record gains for the dominant sports lottery segment.
What is to come?
It isn’t a good forecast. October’s sales are expected to produce an even greater decline due to the government’s temporary suspend all lottery operations out of respect for the October 1 National Day celebrations. Sales and services will resume October 8.
Included in the shutdown are certain sports lottery products – the football and basketball single-quiz games. Some of the individual provincial lottery administration centers will sell open sports options as usual.
The lottery is important in China, being the only form of gambling that mainland Chinese are allowed to enjoy. They miss the online lottery products that were closed to them in March of 2015. It was all about corruption and errant lottery administration officials.